Winter is just around the corner! The following two-part series lays out tips for taking care of yourself during the cold months ahead. The second part of this series will outline if you are eligible for free flu injections, the Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payments as well as ways to prepare your home for the Winter.
Elderly people are more likely to have medical conditions that affect their ability to regulate body temperature. As a result, they must dress warm enough to not only stay comfortable but to keep their health stable as well. It is best to dress in plenty of layers as several layers will keep you warmer than one thick layer (each layer traps warm air). In addition, make sure you have warm shoes or boots with non-slip soles.
Staying active is extremely important to maintaining good health during the winter, even if that means simply doing chair-based exercises. It is not only essential for your general wellbeing and fitness to stay active, but, it also generates heat and helps keep you warm. Try not to sit still for more than an hour – get up and walk around, make yourself a warm drink, spread chores throughout the day or try chair-based exercises.
Hypothermia & The Flu
Elderly people have an increased risk of developing hypothermia due to the fact that they are more vulnerable in cold environments and unable to keep warm. This is particularly the case if they are not active, do not maintain a healthy diet, have illnesses, or take medications that interfere with their body’s natural ability to regulate temperature.
Low temperatures during winter increase the risk of catching the flu or other respiratory problems which can lead to high blood pressure. Blood pressure needs to be kept in check as it takes longer to return to normal in elderly individuals which puts them at a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes. Keep your hands and face warm – if they get cold they can trigger a rise in blood pressure which puts you at risk of a heart attack. Therefore, the colder your home, the higher the risk to your health. Ideally, you should keep your living room at around 21°C (70°F), and the rest of your home heated to 18°C (64°F).
The following video provides an explanation of the ways in which cold weather affects elderly peoples’ bodies differently –