Winter safety starts at home
Nov 30, 2021
With temperatures falling across the country, winter has well and truly arrived. And while many of us are focused on the festive period ahead, we should remember that harsh weather conditions bring a risk of injury and illness, particularly to ageing adults living alone at home.
To help us all stay safe at home this winter, Home Instead’s National Clinical Lead, Danette Connolly, has provided advice for ageing adults, carers, friends, and relatives.
Here are her six tips for staying safe this winter:
1. Wear layers of clothing
Significant drops in internal temperature can lead to serious health complications for ageing adults. To stay warm throughout the day, it’s best to wear several thin layers of clothing and to ensure all internal windows and doors are kept closed.
2. Stay stocked up
With the cold and wet weather, and recent rise in Covid-19 cases, older people may be reluctant to go to the shops. By offering to do a shop for your older neighbour, friend, or relative, you can help them to have all their essentials to hand, including groceries, solid fuels, and medical prescriptions.
3. Eat well
Regular, hot meals keep the body warm. Porridge, which is quick and easy to prepare, is an excellent source of nutrients and fuels the body for hours. Stocking an ageing adult’s press with non-perishables like oats, tinned fruit and vegetables, and pasta, will ensure that there is always something nourishing on the menu.
4. Winter-proof the home
Harsh weather conditions can increase the chance of accidents for ageing adults. During the winter months, make sure that pathways are cleared from wet leaves, internal draughts are blocked, and electrical devices are unplugged when not in use.
5. Plan for emergencies
Winter can sometimes bring extreme weather, leading to power cuts at home. Be prepared for events like this by ensuring that older adults have items such as fuel and non-perishable food at home and that they have emergency and close family contact numbers to hand. Keeping the Eircode beside the phone can also assist emergency services in reaching them as quickly as possible, should the need arise.
6. Stay connected
For many the festive season brings joy, but for some it is a time of increased loneliness and depression due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is crucial that family, friends, and neighbours check in on older loved ones to make sure they are feeling okay during this season. Remember to follow all the public health advice around hand-washing, masks, and distancing if you’re visiting!