Ways To Look After The Elderly And Vulnerable This Winter
As most of you know, my father was a disabled man of 67 years old. He couldn't do much of anything for himself in the months before he died and relied on specialist nurses, doctors and of course, his family for support.
During autumn and winter things could get a little more tricky and he required more help than usual. So I’ve put together this post on different ways you too can help the elderly and vulnerable during the colder months. It doesn’t just have to be a family member, you could help a neighbour, a family friend, anyone you think may need that little bit of extra care at this time of year.
1.) Remind them to have their flu jab. If they haven’t booked one themselves, arrange one for them as soon as possible so they are protected.
2.) Check repeat prescriptions are up to date, arrange for them to be delivered if your pharmacy offers a drop off service and keep simple cold & flu remedies in the house.
3.) Visit or keep in contact regularly to keep on eye on health problems that are likely to get worse quickly, such as chest problems. Ensure they or you call a doctor if there is cause for concern and get the right medication as soon as possible.
4.) Do a weekly house clean for them particularly the kitchen and bathrooms to help prevent the spread of germs. The flu virus and Norovirus are common illnesses during autumn/winter and can spread very easily. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on their tables.
1.) Take stock of blankets and bedding and replace anything that is too old or buy more if there isn’t enough. Keep a spare blanket near their chair and bed for easy access.
2.) Use draught excluders on doors and hang heavy, fully lined curtains on the windows.
3.) Have their boiler serviced if it hasn’t been done recently.
4.) Remember, keep the main living room at 21 degrees and the rest of the house at 18 degrees. These are the ideal living temperatures.
5.) Keep simple food staples in their home such as soup. Soup and a nice cup of hot tea could provide that extra bit of comforting warmth.
1.) Keep a mixture of salt and sand handy ready for sprinkling on paths and outside steps at night before a frost.
2.) If we have snow during the winter, it might be a good idea to Shovel snow from pathways and the main door leading to the property in case of emergencies that requires an ambulance or other assistance.
3.) Keep both entrances to the property clear of ice and wet, fallen leaves that may become slippery.
4.) Get smoke and carbon monoxide detectors checked – replace any old batteries and remember to retest regularly.
5.) Keep a good supply of batteries, torches and candles in their home incase of power outages. If you experience a power outage yourself and you live close by to an elderly/vulnerable person, do go and check on them. They may not be able to use their phone if the power is out.
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO:
1.) Offer to pick up prescriptions if they’re unable to get them delivered.
2.) Make sure they have basic essentials at all times such as toilet paper, bread, milk etc by adding them to your own food shop and dropping it off for them.
3.) If you make meals for your family, make an extra dish to give them. It can be a quick meal that can be easily warmed in a microwave – hearty stew is much loved during the colder months.
4.) Visit regularly if nothing else but to give your time and company. Sometimes, these months can become very lonely.
5.) Show them how to use a simple mobile phone in case of power outages and they’re unable to use their landline.
6.) Offer to take them out for a walk if only around the neighbourhood (but make sure they are wrapped up warm)
7.) If they aren’t able to decorate for Christmas, offer to do it for them to add a bit of festive cheer. Place cards on top of cabinets or blutak to a door, add some snow spray to windows and buy a festive fibreoptic tree if they don’t have room for a big one.
If you have any more helpful ideas, add them to the comments below.