Ways to keep well this winter
Winter brings extra challenges and can be a struggle for many older people, so local charity Age UK Rotherham has some helpful tips on how to keep well in winter.
As the days grow shorter and the temperature dips everything takes a little more effort and the wintery weather can make it difficult to get out and about, meet up with friends, do weekly shopping, get to the doctors, or even just go out for a walk.
Staying in can be tough too. Rising energy costs mean that keeping warm and even cooking a hot meal may put an extra strain on finances, leading to anxiety and stress. Being stuck at home can add to feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially for older people.
The charity’s CEO, Barbara Dinsdale said “There are lots of things that can be done now to make it easier for older people to cope when it gets really cold and other things that can be done throughout winter to help stay warm and safe. Age UK Rotherham has put together a list of seven things that you can do to help you to keep warm and well this winter and we are here to provide support to anyone who is struggling.”
Follow these tips and stay well this winter:
- Get your flu jab and Covid-19 autumn booster
If you are 65 and over, or a carer, you will be offered a free flu vaccine and Covid-19 autumn booster. This is one of the most important ways of protecting your health this winter. Having the vaccines will greatly reduce the risk of severe symptoms if you get flu or Covid-19.
Make sure you check which other winter vaccines you are eligible for too.
- Keep moving
Keeping moving will help to maintain strength and mobility and will help to keep you warm. If the weather allows, wrap up and go outside for a walk, even if it’s just around the garden and if it’s snowy or icy, take a walk around the house instead. If you are stuck inside, try not to sit still for more than one hour at a time, get up and move around as often as you can. If mobility is a problem, do some simple chair exercises, moving your arms and feet.
You can get more information about exercises for older people on the NHS website Physical activity guidelines for older adults – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Eat well and stay hydrated
Eating well and drinking enough is really important. Stock up on cupboard and freezer supplies, in case there’s a cold spell and you can’t get out. Preparing a few meals in advance to reheat at mealtimes and filling a thermos flask with a hot drink in the morning will save on energy costs.
A hot meal delivery service could be a big help during cold months and there will be someone checking in on you too.
- Make sure your home is warm enough
It’s important to keep warm and the best way to do this is to heat your home to a comfortable temperature throughout the day. Heating is expensive, but there are things you can do to reduce costs, such as fitting draft excluders, putting tin foil behind radiators to reflect heat, and keeping them clear of furniture and curtains to allow the heat to circulate.
If money worries are preventing you from heating your home properly, check that you are getting all the support you are entitled to and claiming extra benefits, such as the winter fuel payment. Find out more at Winter Fuel Payment: Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Keep your spirits up
If you are struggling to keep your spirits up, you are not alone, the ‘winter blues’ affect us all to some degree. Talking to friends and family about how you are coping can help and if you’ve been feeling low for a while and are struggling to cope, speak to a healthcare professional.
- Look after your health
If you have a health concern speak to a healthcare professional. Putting things off can make it worse, so if you have concerns or feel unwell, get help. You can also call 111 or go to your local pharmacy for advice.
- Ask for help
Winter can be hard, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you reach out to friends, family, or Age UK Rotherham, make sure you get help.
If you are struggling with everyday tasks, Age UK Rotherham’s ‘Little Bit of Help’ is a paid-for service that gives you a helping hand with things including:
- Help to get you out and about or accompany you to appointments.
- Cleaning and laundry tasks such as ironing.
- Going shopping with you or doing your shopping for you.
- Planning and preparing meals with you.
- Providing companionship to help you do the things you like to do such as hobbies, crafts, reading or outings.
Or even keeping someone company for a few hours whilst a carer has a break.
Contact 01709 786 955 to find out more.
A little planning will make it easier to get through the winter months, but it can still be tough, so get help when you need it, keep warm and safe and make the most of any unexpected sunny days.