Charities have issued advice on how the elderly can stay safe, warm and healthy this winter, as the Arctic weather starts to hit the UK.
According to research conducted by The Office of National Statistics there is a rise in winter death rates each year, with the elderly being the most vulnerable.
Although the national statistics show a dramatic decrease in these deaths in the elderly over recent years, this is not to say they are not still at risk. Charities such as Age UK and Independent Age have issued guidance on how to stay warm, safe and healthy this winter.
These charities suggest: “If you’re sitting down, a shawl or blanket will provide a lot of warmth. Try to keep your feet up, as the air is cooler at ground level.
“Wear warm clothes in bed. When it’s very cold, wear thermal underwear, bed socks and even a hat.”
The most important thing, they say, is to remember to wear layers, both inside and outside, and ensure your house is well heated (between 18 and 21°C is recommended).
Lack of sunlight in the winter means we don’t get enough vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones. The charities encourage people to eat foods rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish, eggs and meat, or take a daily vitamin D supplement.
Independent Age also suggests to “make sure you have a flu jab every year. It’s free if you are 65 or over, a carer or have certain health conditions. Contact your GP or ask your local pharmacist to arrange one.
“If you are over 65, you are also eligible for a pneumo jab, a one-off jab that protects against pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia. Once you’ve had the jab you’ll be protected for life.”
Age UK and Independent Age provide more detail on their websites. For more information on how to stay safe and healthy this winter, as well as how you can gain help with heating costs, visit Independent Age or Age UK.