Tips For The Elderly To Keep Healthy In Winter

The Women’s Royal Voluntary Service and BUPA have launched a new scheme for the elderly called get ready for winter. A get ready for winter leaflet and warming winter recipes is available, distributed for free via the WRVS and in some care homes. Their winter wellness campaign also includes some research around the use of music to help elderly people to feel good during the darker and colder days of winter. Using music, as we have previously covered on the blog, is very beneficial or it ability to release beneficial substances like dopamine and oxytocin. Prof Grenville Hancox has studied the benefits of music to the elderly for over a decade, and has compiled a list of the top songs that people choose to help them to feel good. See him discussing the research he has done regarding the impact of singing on health on the video below.

His research has shown that the main music hits that people enjoyed in their early 20s tended to still produce positive feelings of well-being throughout all ages of the person’s life. You can use this information to find your own top 10 list of personal favourites and then make a CD of them to play during the grey days of winter time. From their list of top 10 chosen by older people the top three includes Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and the Everly Brothers.
As well as playing this feelgood music during open days at BUPA care homes they are also offering winter warming meals and free exercise classes to older people locally. Their recipe booklet is available from the following link >>> BUPA winter warmer guide.  Tick the boxes for “Winter warmers recipes” and the “Get Ready For Winter” one. They can email or post the guides to you.

Preparing for winter weather

Now the dark nights are drawing in and the weather is turning colder it can be a test on our immune system and on our pockets as we spend more money on heating and electricity. For the elderly amongst us we have to pay more attention to make sure that we keep fit and healthy and that we keep safe especially if we get deluged with snow or it turns icy.

In order to plan ahead it is wise to make sure that we have stocks of food in the cupboard just in case we can’t get out for a few days if it snows. A handy store cupboard list is below.

Emergency food store cupboard set up for the elderly
A good idea especially during bad weather or in case of illness is to prepare an emergency food store cupboard with assistance from a friend, carer or relative. Things to include in this cupboard:
Tinned meat or fish
Tinned or packet soup
Instant potatoes
Pulses, for example, baked beans, dried peas or lentils
Dried or tinned vegetables
Breakfast cereals, porridge oats, pasta or rice
Biscuits or crackers
Dried milk or UHT long life milk
Tinned milk puddings, for example, custard or rice pudding
Tinned fruit in natural juice
Cartons of fruit juice (with added vitamin C)
Drinking chocolate or malt drinks
Complan, build up (bought from chemists if you have a poor appetite).

Household Preparations – Externally

Before the worst of the winter weather appears it is a good idea to make sure that the roof is watertight that all our external pipes are insulated and that we know how to turn the water off at the stopcock if a pipe freezes. A bag of sand and salt is useful to keep the drive way clear and our footpath hazard free, should it turn icy.

Household preparations-internally

Make sure that your heating system has been serviced. Make sure that any torches have new batteries, and that you have spare ones available. Make sure that you have a stout pair of boots or shoes with plenty of grip. Where warmer clothes in plenty of layers, and make sure that you have hot drinks. If your mobility is restricted then make a flask so that you can still keep warm.

Winter Health Preparations for the Elderly

Ensure that you have had your winter flu jab and that you have collected any repeat prescriptions. Easy chair exercises such as those found in the following video, can help you keep active and your joints feel more mobile. There’s no excuse for being too old as this 98 year old fitness instructor shows us, who is the grandmother of Sacha Baron Cohen the TV and film actor.

Winter Backup support

Arrange with a neighbour to collect prescriptions or food items if you cannot get out. Make sure that you have a list of emergency numbers near to the phone for friends and family contacts and local companies and voluntary organisations that could help as well.