As we get older our bodies respond differently to the cold which means the elderly are more susceptible to serious health problems, especially during the autumn and winter months. Dr Stephen Tomkins, a dedicated GP for Encore Care Homes, has rounded up tips on how to ensure the elderly stay warm and healthy this winter.
- Your home should be at least 18 degrees. In order to do so you should draw the curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts. Heating systems should also be checked regularly by a qualified professional.
- Keep warm if you have to go outside by dressing sensibly. Make sure you keep your hands and head warm. As well as wearing gloves and a hat, always wrap a scarf around your face when you go outside as this helps to warm the air you breathe. Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air. Clothes made from wool or fleece synthetic fibres such as polyester are a better choice than cotton. It is also important to keep your feet warm by opting for boots with non-slip soles and a warm lining, or you should even wear thermal socks.
- Keep moving. By moving at regular intervals this will help generate heat to keep you warm. Chair-based exercises are helpful if walking is difficult, especially moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes.
- Eat well. Hot meals and drinks help to keep the body warm, so it is important to eat at least one hot meal each day and have regular hot drinks throughout the day. Meals should be balanced and include a good range of food in your diet. You should aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables each day so that the body receives plenty of nutrients and vitamins.
- Make sure you have a flu jab every year. Winter naturally sees an increase in the spreading of germs and staying clean is essential. Simply washing your hands keeps them clean and free of germs and can contribute towards remaining healthy. Everyone aged 65 and over, a carer or if you have a certain health condition you are eligible for a free flu jab. Flu can increase your risk of more serious illnesses such as pneumonia so it is important that jabs are taken yearly.
For more information please call 01202 087444 to speak to a member of the team.