AD – This is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own
Where most of us are excited for Autumn and Christmas and the final few months of the year, for some people, it can be a pretty stressful time. For any of us with elderly relatives, friends or neighbors, we’re well aware of the struggles the older generation can face when the temperature drops and the conditions outside change. Not to mention with COVID on top of that!
Before we get into the tips on making sure the elderly in your life are safe and healthy this Winter, I just want to make a point of how you should ALWAYS be looking after yourself too. I fully believe that you can’t look after others to the best of your ability unless you look after yourself too. So make sure you’re focusing on your own health, well-being and self care. Especially during a time of year which can be so stressful for so many reasons.
- Looking After Your Well-Being at Christmas
- 30 Self Care Ideas in 10 Minutes or Less
- Bring Self Care Back Into Your Life In 5 Easy Steps
So now let’s get into how we can take care of our elderly friends, family and neighbors during Winter and Christmas. We’ll be looking at physical, mental and practical tips:
Loneliness can be such a huge problem. Not just for elderly people of course (I can definitely adhere to that) but for the sake of this post, that’s the group of people we’ll be focusing on. Can you think of anything worse than an elderly friend or relative, sitting in their home, feeling lonely at what should be the happiest time of year?
There are plenty of ways to tackle loneliness. The most obvious is to make sure you visit and NOT just for the necessities. Visit them for the sake of a visit. For a cup of tea and a chat. It could make their entire week. If visiting isn’t an option, pick up the phone.
There are also some fantastic voluntary services available which would be worth looking into in your local area whereby volunteers ring up elderly or vulnerable people just for a check in a chat. This is what I did in the Summer, when COVID was in full swing!
Ensure their houses are safe
Safety is so important, especially in the Winter when health conditions might flare up and the conditions outside might make homes and gardens and bit less safe than usual. But of course safety comes into play all year round. Things like railings are easy to ensure they’re safe and sturdy.
However for the bigger safety equipment, like stair lifts, it’s always worth hiring professionals or someone that knows what they’re talking about to come and take a look to make sure it’s safe. You can check out a range of stairlifts prices here, to start the process in finding the perfect stair lift.
Check appliances are working
Again, something else that you might have to hire a professional for if you’re not able to do so yourself and that’s checking the important appliances like heaters and boilers and ovens are working correctly and safely. No heating in Winter can have a devastating impact on health, so this should absolutely be a priority. Don’t forget that you may be entitled to an ECO grant if you are in receipt of certain benefits, this is a grant to help with the costs of a new boiler install.
Check in on people regularly
I’ve already mentioned visiting elderly friends, neighbors and relatives for social visits but checking in on them regularly just to ensure they’re okay is another really helpful thing to do this time of year. This could literally be a 2 minute chat in the morning and in the evening. And it’ll make them know someone is thinking of them and cares and also allows them to express any concerns they have that you can tackle during the week.
Access to healthcare
Healthcare is always important (obviouslyyyyy) but in Winter when health conditions can flare up and viruses and illness are more common, making sure they have regular access to healthcare is so important. Especially if they can’t get out and about themselves.
This means writing down important numbers for them to access easily, such as the GP surgery, the pharmacy and emergency contacts, making sure they’re stocked up on medication they need and supply them with medications they might need if they find themselves with a cold or the flu.
If housebound, make sure they have enough food
The final practical point is making sure they have enough food. This is particularly important if they’re housebound, if they have an illness or a injury or if the weather is so bad that they physically wouldn’t be able to make it safely to the shops and back.
If needed, you can also arrange home delivery for them for their weekly groceries.
Make sure you have a back up person if you’re not available
Remember, you need to look after yourself too! If you’re feeling run down or need some time to yourself, you are MORE than entitled to take that. But sometimes it’s not that easy if you have elderly people to take care of. You’re not responsible for everyone’s needs. So if you do need to take time away, if you’re sick or are taking a holiday, then just make sure there are other people available to take over your duties for a few days!
What else would you add to this list if you have elderly relatives or friends to look after?