How You Can Help Your Elderly Relations Keep Warm this Winter
The prospect of yet another cold-snap in Ireland is enough to make anyone shiver. However, a particular thought should be spared for elderly relatives who are far more susceptible to the cold weather than younger people. Statistics from the National Health Service suggest that around 30,000 people die of illnesses related to cold weather every year. While it isn’t always possible to check on an elderly relative every day, there are a number of precautions that can be taken to greatly lessen the risk they face.
Mane people will turn their heating off for long spells in an attempt to save money. However, this is often counter-productive as it can be far more expensive to heat a cold house than to maintain it at a constant temperature. Elderly relatives should be shown how to use relatively complicated electronic thermostat systems so that the temperature within the home is regulated at around 21°C. If this is not possible, the thermostat should be programmed and checked every time a relative or friend visits.
Staying warm while in bed or during long periods of inactivity is vital. There are a number of ways to achieve this, including the use of an electric blanket or a hot water bottle. Electric blankets should be checked for faults every year by a portable appliance testing expert. It is also important not to allow the use an electric blanket and a hot water bottle at the same time. Hats and gloves should be accessible in case temperatures drop quickly, particularly through the night. It is also advisable to wear several layers of clothing instead of just one thick layer.
The possibility of an elderly person having an accident or becoming ill during cold spells is very significant. Regular contact should be made to check on their welfare. It is a good idea to acquire the telephone numbers of neighbours and friends, just in case contact cannot be made for some reason. If a nearby friend can physically check on their welfare at regular intervals, that may deliver a little peace of mind.
Staying active is a great way to stay warm as it keeps the blood circulating. Ideally, people should be getting up and walking around the house once every hour. Where this is not possible, a social worker or health professional may be able to give advice on exercises that can be undertaken when in a seated position. The severe winters that have swept over Ireland during recent years have caused a great deal of distress; however, a few changes in lifestyle can make a big difference.