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27th March 2018

Keeping Warm in Old Age

Severe cold snaps can have dramatic effects on everyday life, especially for the elderly. Cold and wintry conditions can cause severe illness and, in the worst cases, people can die. By taking some simple precautions, most people can be prepared for the cold weather

  • Get a free seasonal flu jab. Not only is seasonal flu unpleasant, but it can also cause serious illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis and in the worst cases, it can result in a stay in hospital, or even death. The elderly and those with long-term health problems are most at risk. Your ageing parent can get a free jab from the age of 65. They should contact their GP, or talk to their pharmacist
  • Try to avoid catching colds or flu. Colds and flu spread very easily. Encourage your ageing parent to always cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when you coughing or sneezing and encourage visitors and relatives to do the same. They should throw away used tissues as soon as possible and wash their hands regularly with soap and water, taking  a hand sanitiser gel when they are out and about
  • Stock up on over-the-counter cough and cold remedies, so they have them to hand if they suddenly feel ill

Living a healthy lifestyle

Keeping your ageing parent  fit and healthy is important all year round, but lifestyle can make even more of a difference when it comes to keeping well in winter

Eating regular meals will help keep their energy levels up during winter and so help to fight infection

Encourage your elderly relative to:

  • Have plenty of hot food and drinks
  • Plan their meals and keep their diet as varied as possible
  • Aim to include daily five portions of fruit and veg
  • Remember that tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables count towards the five a day
  • Stock up on tinned and frozen foods, so that they don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy

Stay active 

Even moderate exercise can bring health benefits. If possible, encourage your parent to move around at least once an hour, but remember to speak to their GP before they start on any exercise plan

Dress for the weather

Wearing lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and help to maintain body heat. Wearing shoes with a good grip will help to prevent slips and falls when walking outside

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