Winter can be tough on all of us. There are driveways to shovel, cars to be de-iced, long hours just trying to get warm after an excursion into the outdoors. These are the problems that all of face during the chilly season, but not all of us are able to stay ahead of winter’s pesky cold. Older people in particular may find it more difficult to fend off winter’s bite, be it through lack of finances or energy. That’s why it’s our duty to help out and make sure they have everything they need to stay warm. This doesn’t have to be a massive, time consuming task: just keep them in mind when the weather gets particularly cold and make yourself available to help out should it be needed.
Warm Clothing: There’s no better way to prevent the onset of a cold than to dress properly. Elderly people are less likely to be aware of a change in the weather, and may not fully realize that they should be wearing more or better clothing than they are. If you have the ability to do so, buy a couple of extra warm fleeces and thermals and take them round to your elderly relatives. You can also make make sure that they have enough warm bedding to make it through the night without getting chilly, such as additional blankets. If they don’t have one already, a hot water bottle is the perfect cost effective way to make sure that they’re OK.
House Check: Depending on the size of the home, it might not be so straightforward to ensure that it’s always kept warm. A lot of older people also don’t like to use their heating because of the high costs that some systems can attract. To begin with, you can go to the home and do an inventory, of sorts, to make sure that they’re set up to have a warm house. This means checking that the furnace ignitor is in working order, that there are no obvious open drafty areas letting cold air into the house, and that the pipes that feed heat throughout the home are in good condition. If they’re worried about the cost of heating the home, you can suggest reducing the heat to some unused rooms in the house, which will lower the bills. Also, keeping an eye on the outside of the property to make sure it’s not slippery could be a huge help.
Out and About: It sometimes happens that older people spend longer than usual outside in the cold weather than they should. This is especially damaging even if they’re properly dressed, because there are still risks of being outside for long periods of time. You can help by offering to drive them to and from the shops or accompanying them when they go out. When you think it’s likely that they’re getting cold, suggest popping into a coffee shop to get warm.
Remember, the cold can be devastating to vulnerable people but by helping out a little bit, we can reduce the hardships that come during the winter months.
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