Welcome to our Winter Wellness article series – dedicated to offering our best advice for older people, on staying well over the Winter. Please note that these articles are for guidance purposes only, and we’d always recommend frequent visits to your nearest health advisor, who will be able to give you personalised advice.
This week’s article is focusing on the topic of staying healthy during the Winter. Unfortunately, the cold weather can put older people at greater risk of strokes and heart attacks, due to raised blood pressure. In addition to this we can become more susceptible to bugs, especially in later-life; but keeping up with these tips can make it much easier to stay healthy and comfortable.
Prepare in advance.
Make sure that you prepare for Winter in advance, by ensuring that your jabs are up to date.
If you are 65 or over, ensure that you have received both the pneumo jab, which protects against pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia, and the flu jab (yearly), which protects against the common flu.
Many people overlook the flu jab, having had this many times over our lives. Unfortunately as we age, our ability to bounce-back from bouts of flu is reduced, meaning that it can have more serious consequences. You should particularly do this if you live in a care home, or if you have any long-term medical conditions.
On a daily basis
Keeping up with a healthy diet can be tricky for some older people during the Winter, as many are less able to go out and buy fresh food for themselves. If this is the case, make sure you either ask a friend or family member to make this trip for you, or seek-out a carer who can help. Frozen vegetables also provide an excellent nutritional source, so don’t overlook these as an option.
Many supermarkets will also offer a food delivery service to your door, saving you the worry, effort and sometimes the risk of leaving the house when it’s very cold.
Hot meals and drinks will help you to stay warm, if you’re worried about being cold at night you could also keep a warm drink in a thermos flask by your bed to sip throughout the night.
If you are worried about your appetite or are losing weight during the Winter, please contact your GP.
Keeping moving is also an essential aspect to your wellness during the Winter. It is easy to remain stagnant whilst it’s cold outside, however, exercise is essential to staying healthy and will also help you to stay warm. If walking is difficult, there are chair-based exercised that you can do, such as arm and leg movements or wiggling your toes and fingers.
As simple as it sounds, making sure you keep your hands clean is more important than ever during the Winter. This will both reduce the risk of catching an illness yourself, and will ensure that you don’t spread it to other people. We’d also recommend cleaning work surfaces, telephones, door handles, keyboards and any other surfaces you touch regularly.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly;
Keep your spirits up. Try to keep up with your usual social schedule, despite the shorter days. If you’re unable to visit family and friends, then either contact them by phone, or ask them to visit you. It’s very common to feel down during the Winter, however, if you’ve been feeling this way for a few weeks then please get in touch with a friend or even your GP who will be able to help.
We hope you found this article helpful. Next week we will be discussing more on staying warm; this time the topic will be ‘Staying Safe’ during the Winter.
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