This week’s cold weather can’t have come as a shock – we are well into November after all – but up until the frost hit overnight, we have had a relatively mild autumn.
There are a number of things you can do to help your elderly friends and relatives keep well and warm this winter, including calling or visiting more often if they can’t get out and about.
Make sure they have some basic food items in, just in case it’s too cold to get to the shops, and offer to pick up prescriptions. A bag of salt and sand might be helpful to spread on icy steps and paths.
Age UK offers a benefits check to make sure they are claiming everything for which they are eligible.
Age UK also offers some very good advice on its website and its research highlights the general lack of awareness of the effects that cold weather can have on an older person’s health.
A recent survey showed that many people wrongly believe that hypothermia is the main cause of excess winter death. There is also a belief that leaving a window open at night to let in fresh air is good for your health, whereas the opposite is true – breathing in cold air lowers body temperature and raises the risk of chest infections.
Cold weather causes a massive increase in associated health problems – heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, depression, worsening arthritis and increased accidents.