Winter Safety Advice for Older People
Keeping active generates heat and helps to keep you warm. It's good for general fitness and wellbeing too. So when you're indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour. Get up and walk around, make yourself a warm drink, and spread any chores throughout the day. Chair-based exercises and simply moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes are helpful if walking is difficult.
Hot meals and drinks help keep you warm, so eat at least one hot meal and have hot drinks during the day. Include a good range of foods in your diet and aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables each day so that you're getting plenty of nutrients and vitamins. Remember that frozen vegetables are as good as fresh. Having a hot drink before bed and keeping a hot drink in a flask by the bed are good ideas too.
Have a seasonal flu jab
If you're over 65 be sure to have a seasonal flu jab. Seasonal flu viruses are always changing, so you need to have a jab every year, using the latest vaccine. Flu is not only unpleasant but it can develop into pneumonia, which can be serious. A flu jab is also recommended if you're under 65 with a condition such as diabetes, a chronic heart, lung, kidney or liver problem, have Parkinson's or have had a stroke.
Keep your home warm
Most of us spend a lot of time indoors in winter, so it's important that you are comfortable and safe. One tip is to close the curtains and fit thermal linings if you can. This will help to keep the heat in.
Fore more information on staying wrapped up for winter see the attached booklet below:
You can take the following measures to keep yourself safe at home:
Working smoke alarms
One of the easiest and most beneficial measures you can take is to install a smoke alarm, ideally you would install one on each level, including in the bedroom. You should ensure that they are installed correctly and are properly maintained, testing weekly and replacing the batteries annually.
- If you are deaf or have other impaired senses, you can buy detectors that have additional indicators such as a flashing light and vibrating alert pads.
- Your local Fire and Rescue Service may be able to fit a smoke alarm for free.
- You can find contact details of your local fire service at Fire Gateway
- You may also want to consider a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide will cause you to become unconscious and eventually suffocate. It can be caused by faulty gas fires and is also present in house fires.
- It is a good idea for you to keep a phone by your bed so that you can contact the emergency services if you need to.
- You may want to consider getting a pendant alarm for extra peace of mind. This means that you will have a button to press if you need to summon help and this will then be responded to by a central centre.
Close your doors
- Closing all internal doors will reduce the risk of fire and smoke spreading throughout the property.
- Consider fitting fire doors and automatic door closing devices. Fire doors will restrict the spread of fire and smoke, allowing more time for escape or help to arrive.
Make an Escape plan
- Make sure that you know how to get out of the house in the event of a fire.
- Check that you are able to get out of the property.
- If you use a mobility aid, make sure that it is within reach at all times.
- Keep all exits free from obstructions.
- Know where your keys are so that you can find them and open your doors easily.
- Check that you are able to lock and unlock the doors.
- If you suffer from a visual impairment you could place tactile markers along the escape path so that you can easily find your way out in the event of a fire.
Other things to consider
Check that your electric blankets is not:
- Older than 10 years old
- Damaged or frayed
- Have scorch marks or loose connections
- Used by people who are incontinent
People with memory impairment may be at an increased risk of accidental fire and need extra support to remember things when carrying out everyday tasks.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you lit a cigarette and forgotten about it?
- Have you left the cooker on and burnt food?
If you are concerned about your memory, health and wellbeing, make an appointment to see your GP.
Need further advice and support?
The following organisations are also available for advice and support
The Samaritans - telephone 08457 90 90 90 / www.samaritans.org
Mind, for better mental health Telephone 0300 123 3393/ www.mind.org.uk
Alzheimers Telephone 0845 300 0336 / www.alzheimers.org.uk
Age UK - Telephone 0800 169 6565 / www.ageuk.org.uk
NHS Direct - Telephone 0845 4647 / www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk