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Preparing the elderly for Winter

Preparing the elderly for Winter

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, now is a good time to start readying your elderly loved one and their home for winter. With a little foresight and preparation, your loved one can have a safe and enjoyable winter and not have to worry should there be an emergency.
 

Preparing the Home

Heating System Check-up

Before the cold sets in, it's crucial to ensure that your loved ones heating system is in good working order. Have a professional technician inspect and service their system to guarantee that it's efficient and safe. This will not only keep you warm but also save on energy bills.

 

Insulation and Draft-proofing

Drafts can let in cold air and make your home less energy efficient. Check for drafts around windows, doors, and any other openings. Sealing these gaps can help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. 

 

Chimney/Flue Maintenance<

If your loved one’s home has a fireplace or flue, ensure that it's cleaned and inspected before using it. Creosote build-up can lead to chimney fires, so it's essential to have it cleaned by a professional chimney sweep. Also ensure they have a good supply of seasoned firewood on hand if they plan to use their fireplace during the winter.

 

Emergency Supplies

Create a winter emergency kit for any power outages. This could include blankets, a torch, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food and a first aid kit. It’s also good to create a list with contact information for family or friends who can assist in case of an emergency as well as the numbers for energy suppliers and emergency services. 

 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Check that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning correctly and have fresh batteries. These devices are vital for your safety, especially during the winter months when heating systems are in use.

 

Outside the home

Ensure that gutters are clear of debris to prevent blockages or freezing. Overflowing gutters can cause roof damage and lead to leaks inside your home. If you’re unable to clean the gutters, consider hiring a professional. Make sure paths and driveways are clean and consider having salt or grit if you live in an ice prone area or you live on a slope.

 

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can be a costly and inconvenient problem during winter. Insulate pipes in unheated areas of the home. Ensure your loved one knows where their main water shut-off valve is in case they need to turn off the water supply in an emergency.

 

Car

If your loved one still drives, ensure their car is safe for winter driving. Check things such as oil, battery, tyres and windscreen wipers and coolant. If they live in an area that gets snow, you may want to also look at winter tyres. It’s also a good idea to create a winter emergency kit for the car including a blanket, food, water and torch.

 

Personal Preparation

 

Flu & Covid Vaccination

Ensure that your loved one gets their flu and covid vaccinations. These are free to anyone over the age of 65. They are also available to Carers. Having the vaccines will help protect them against the seasonal flu and covid strains that tend to be more prevalent during the winter months. 

 

Warm clothes

Layering is the key to staying warm in the colder months. Ensure your loved one has all the clothes they need for winter. Start with thermal base layers and add insulating layers like sweaters or jumpers. If they are going to go outdoors make sure they have a good warm waterproof and windproof jacket. Don't forget warm socks, gloves, and a hat.

 

Footwear

Proper footwear is crucial to prevent slips and falls. Ensure their shoes have non-slip soles and good ankle support. If they will be venturing outdoors, ensure their shoes are waterproof, to keep their feet dry in the wet and possibly snowy conditions. Their slippers should also be warm and have non-slip soles.

 

Physical Activity

Regular physical activity helps maintain body heat and keeps your muscles and joints flexible. Even simple exercises like stretching and walking can be beneficial. If your loved one is not currently active encourage them to start getting active now so it becomes a routine before the winter sets in. Ensure they check with their Doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

 

Medication

Ensure your loved one has stocked up on their prescriptions ahead of winter so they don’t run out during these colder months. 

By taking these steps to prepare your loved one and their home for winter, you can ensure they enjoy the season's beauty and festivities while staying safe and comfortable. Remember, it's never too early to start preparing for winter, so start now to ensure last minute rushing and stress.

 

Useful Links

>> Warwickshire safe and well visit?

>> Flu and COVID vaccine booking

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