As we get older, winter can become more of a struggle. Colder weather brings an increase in associated health problems for those in later life. Short, dark days make it harder to get out and about, which can leave older people feeling more isolated and alone and more reliant on family, friends or neighbours being able to pop by. So it’s really important we look after ourselves, and the people in our lives who might need a little extra support.
There are plenty of simple, practical things you can do to help this winter.
Encourage everyone to look after their health. As we get older, we need to take a bit more care of our health – even if we’re fit as a fiddle. One of the easiest ways to protect ourselves from nasty winter bugs is to get the free flu jab. If you’re a carer, you can get it for free too.
Make time for relatives, friends and neighbours. Darker nights and miserable weather can make it harder for people to get out and about. Calling for a chat, popping in for a cuppa or even sending a card in the post can really help let someone know you’re thinking about them.
Ask if people have everything they need. When bad weather makes it harder to get out, popping out to run a few errands or doing an online shop could be a big help to someone.
Check their home is warm enough. Over half of older people worry about bills in winter, and around 1 million people aged over 60 live in fuel poverty, meaning they can’t afford to heat their homes properly. If the house feels very cold or someone’s worried about heating their home, Age UK Wiltshire can give you information about schemes offering help with heating.
Help make sure everyone can get out and about safely. When it’s icy or wet outside, it’s easier to slip and fall. Helping to keep paths and driveways clear and salting steps and slopes could make a big difference.
To find out more about how Age UK Wiltshire could help, visit our website www.ageukwiltshire.org.uk