11 December 2017

Taking Care of Your Elderly Relatives This Winter

Winter can be a time of rushing around, preparing for the festive season, and evenings in by the fire out of the cold. However, this time of year can be quite difficult to navigate through for your elderly relatives and neighbors. Driveways and pavements can be treacherous, and if they live alone, they can feel isolated in their own houses. This can mean they are unable to do a lot of the things everyone holds so dear in the holidays - go to carol services, see the lights switch on, and do their Christmas shopping. Here are some ways you can take care of the elderly in your life, and make sure they enjoy this time of year just as much as you.

Keep Active--
Getting outside for a walk for some fresh air is really important this time of year, however, with the icy or snowy weather it can be a bit daunting for the elderly, and prevent them from venturing out of their house. Making yourself available to aid them on their walk, taking them out to town to see the lights, or accompanying them to a Christmas event that is going on locally, can really help to boost mood levels and combat the feeling of loneliness that can make itself known this time of year. It is extremely important for your loved one to be wrapped up warm. All the extremities like hands, feet, and head need to covered, but also ensuring they have enough layers on their chest to protect their vital organs is essential. An early Christmas present of thermals would not go amiss.    

Hire a Professional Carer--
If you are worried about the well-being of your elderly relatives, but are unable to visit as often as you like, hiring some help could put your mind at ease and ensure everyone is taken care of properly. It is worth taking the time to research the services near you that could help, and look at reviews to ensure you are getting the best quality of care possible. Alternatively, if you have hired care before, or are currently hiring a professional, that you feel isn’t performing or treating your elderly friend or parent appropriately, you can find out if you have a medical malpractice case. This will not only earn you some compensation to help ensure that your loved one receives phenomenal care in future, but also stops the same mistreatment happening to others.

      Make Sure They Have Had Their Flu Shot-- 
The flu is a nasty, debilitating illness that can become fatal if allowed to develop into pneumonia, especially for an older person.  A flu vaccine is highly recommended for anyone over the age of 65 years, as they are most likely to develop complicating factors and need to be admitted to hospital. A high dose vaccine has been introduced specifically for people over 65, that has four times the amount of antigen than the usual vaccine to ensure they are fully protected. Flu vaccines are updated every year, as the strain of flu will continue to adapt and change, so even if the elderly loved one in your life has had the shot before, it’s important to have it boosted every year.  

     Keep Their Cupboards Well Stocked--
If you find your elderly friend or parent is hesitant to leave the house make sure they have enough food and supplies for daily life. Since many people over the age of 65 aren't technically savvy, do not take for granted they will be able to do online food shopping. Not being able to get to the store for milk, bread, and the everyday basics could have an extreme effect on both their physical and mental health. Taking the time to do a weekly shopping trip and spend some quality time with your elderly loved one can ensure they are comfortable this winter season, but also not feeling like a burden, constantly asking for supplies and trips to the store. Taking the initiative will make them feel loved and appreciated.
Personal Alarms in Case of Emergency--
If you do have an elderly neighbor or friend that feels confident and able enough to venture out on their own this winter, it may be an idea to get them a personal alarm they can carry on their person in case of an emergency. This way if they do have a fall, or take a funny turn due to the cold, they are able to call for help and, if needed, medical attention. This will put your mind at ease, whilst avoiding stripping the independence away from them.

Hopefully, this has given you some advice on how to best care for your elderly loved ones this year and make sure they have the best festive season they possibly can.

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