Freezing weather conditions can be extremely dangerous for the young and vulnerable. Colder weather particularly increases the chances of elderly people catching the flu or having respiratory issues. The cold can also increase your blood pressure and thicken the blood which can cause a higher risk of a heart attack. Your heart must work much harder in order to pump blood around your body in order to keep you warm.
The number of winter deaths are on rise as well with a record number of deaths recorded between December 2014 and March 2015. Over the last four winters, according to official figures, nearly 120,000 people in England and Wales have died due to the cold weather, or factors associated with cold weather such as virulent strains of influenza.
Successive governments have simply ignored the problem of winter deaths among the older population and seem to have a policy of crossing their fingers and hoping things will improve,” says Dot Gibson (Source: The Guardian)
Cold and Flu Vaccine
In order to reduce the chances of you catching the flu it is advised that you visit your doctor and get the Flu Jab. This vaccination is available every year and is free to those aged over 65.
The flu jab is the best way of limiting your chances of catching the flu and it is advised that you should try and get yours in the autumn, before winter hits. Plenty of tests have been done with the flu jab and although it doesn’t offer 100% protection against flu, it does help limit the severity of the condition.
Your illness will be milder and much shorter if you have had your flu jab. The vaccine is also changed every year depending on which viruses are expected to trigger the most illnesses.
If you are under 65-years-old, then you can receive a free jab is you:
- Have certain medical conditions.
- Are overweight.
- Are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility.
- Receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill.
- Are a front-line health and social care worker.
Alongside the protection from the flu, some tests have shown that the vaccine can also help reduce the risk of you having a stroke.
Keep your home heated
During the winter months it is very important for you to keep your home as warm as possible. The ideal temperatures for rooms in your house, to help you to stay safe, are as follows:
- Living room: 70F (21C)
- Bedroom: 65F (18C)
You should have your heating on as much as possible so that the radiators are hot throughout your home. In the living room, be sure to turn your fire on if you are feeling chilly. Make sure you don’t leave any windows open either, especially during the night when temperatures drop to their lowest. If you’re not aware, you could be eligible for winter fuel allowance too, which aims to support elderly people during the colder months by the government providing cash to go towards gas and electricity.
Speaking of night time, now might be the best time of the year to use a hot water bottle or, if you have one, an electric blanket when you go to bed – remember to ensure these are switched off when not in use! Hot soup and drinks are a great idea for meals throughout the day too and you should also try to make the effort to move around during the day, rather than sitting in the same spot.
One more easy tip to follow is to simply keep all your doors closed when you are not using them. This is a quick and easy way of keeping each individual room warm, especially when we have the freezing weather that we do at the moment.
The key to staying safe at home during these weather conditions is to ensure that you are well informed. If you follow the news and weather, you will know what to expect and this will enable you to prepare for whatever is coming.
Wrap up warm
Try and avoid going outside unless you absolutely have to but if it is necessary then please wrap up warm. Add plenty of layers to your outfit and wear all of the usual winter essentials such as scarves, hats and gloves.
The more layers you are wearing the warmer your body will remain as you are walking around town or to a friend’s house. For example, rather than just wearing a coat why not add a jumper or a hoodie to your outfit?
As the old saying goes: It’s better to be too warm than too cold!
Family are really important during the winter months if you are to stay warm and safe. Your family are there to help you, so you should always ask for it if you feel like you may need some assistance.
Rather than having to go out in the cold to get your shopping you could always ask your children or grandchildren to pop to the shops for you and bring it round to your house afterwards. Or if your home isn’t quite as warm as it should be why not spend a few days at their house instead?
If you are unsure of how to use your heating systems or the radiators, then ask your family to come round and have a look or to arrange for a plumber to visit and solve the problem if there is one.
Your family can make your life so much easier when we have freezing weather and there aim, just like ours, is to keep you safe and well.
Consider a Lifeline Alarm
An easy way of looking after yourself in the freezing weather, and to give your family peace of mind that you are safe, is to have a personal alarm installed at your home. Our system is easy to set-up and simple to use if you require assistance in your home.
The alarm comes with a base unit and a MyAmie Pendant which can be worn around your neck or your wrist depending on your preference. The pendant is small and stylish, so you don’t have to worry about wearing it when you are out and about.
All you need to do if you have a fall or have a medical issue is press the big red button on your pendant. This will send an alert to our 24/7 Care Team who will speak to you over the base unit’s loudspeaker system. After assessing the situation they will call your emergency contacts and the emergency services if they are needed.