Winter is just around the corner, so it’s an important time to start preparing for the colder weather and the impact that it can have on your health and safety.
While some winter activities, such as knitting, baking and snuggling in front of a cosy fire can be so enjoyable, there are other aspects in winter that are a bit less fun, like catching a flu.
In Australia, if you are over 65 years old, you are eligible for a free Flu vaccination under the National Immunisation Program. You can find out more information about the free Flu vaccine here.
Here are few safety tips that you should keep in mind, especially as the weather gets colder and and the days get shorter and darker.
What are the health risks seniors should be aware of in winter?
If you have a chronic health condition or low immune system, there are a few health risks that are more prevalent in winter:
- Catching illnesses such as pneumonia, flu or Covid-19
- Exacerbating existing conditions such as chronic pain and heart conditions
- Injuries that result from falls, especially as it gets darker earlier in the evening
If you are prone to falls or other medical emergencies, a monitored personal alarm can help you feel safer and get the help that you need straight away.
How can seniors stay safe during winter?
The following are general suggestions that can help protect you in winter. If, however, you have a chronic health condition or any other health-related concerns, we recommend to see your GP about ensuring your health during the flu season.
1. Prepare your home for winter
Preparation is important so that you’re ready when the cold weather comes.
- Ensure your home has access to adequate heating that has been well serviced
- Check that you have warm clothing and blankets readily available
- Make sure your appliances (i.e. electric blankets, heaters, kettles, etc.) are functioning properly
2. Keep your home warm during the day
Once winter rolls around, here is what you can to keep your house warm during the day:
- Heat your main living room to around 21 degrees celsius
- Heat your living areas during the day and your bedroom at night
- If your heating is on a timer, set the timer to come on before you get up so that the house is warm on awakening and to go off when you go to bed
- Close doors to rooms that are not in use to keep heat in the rooms you are using
- If possible, turn off heating to rooms that are not in use
3. Keep your home warm during the night
- Keep the heat in your bedroom above 18 degrees overnight
- Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together as there is a potential for electrocution. Do not use leave your electric blanket on overnight.
- Close curtains and blinds at night to keep warm air in the room, preventing it from escaping out of windows
4. Keep yourself warm
- Dress warmly to protect your lungs from cold air:
- Several layers of comfortable clothing – not too heavy or bulky
- Wear cotton, wool or fleece fibres
- Good fitting socks and slippers in the house and sturdy shoes with a good grip outdoors
- A coat, hat, gloves and scarf when you go outside
- Bed socks and thermal underwear at night
- Eat well, including:
- Regular meals to keep your energy levels up and help generate body heat
- Hot foods and drinks, such as soups and tea or coffee
- Stay active with light exercise, as even moving around the house can help you generate body heat and keep warm
5. Stay in touch with family and friends
It’s easier to become more socially isolated as the weather turns cold. Try to avoid being alone for long periods of time and make sure you stay in regular contact with your family, friends and neighbours.
If you become unwell, press your MePACS alarm button and talk to our caring monitors, or seek help from a medical professional or a family member. Do not delay getting medical attention if you are unwell.
How can a MePACS personal alarm help seniors stay safe during the winter?
Because the risk of health emergencies, accidents and falls can be higher in winter, a MePACS personal alarm is a valuable service that can help seniors feel safer and more secure during the winter months.
MePACS has trained staff ready to take your call day and night and get you the help you need fast. Our monitors are knowledgeable and caring, and prioritise your wellbeing above all.
How much does a MePACS personal alarm cost?
To find out more about how MePACS can help support your family or someone you know, call us on 1800 685 329.