Winter can be a harsh season for the elderly, as the cold sets in and it becomes much harder to get around and go about daily routines. With shorter days, colder weather, icy roads and higher heating bills, these months can pose a serious challenge to older people. A staggering 9 out of 10 winter deaths are amongst the elderly, with millions of pensioners unable to afford heating bills. However there are many resources and tips available to help the elderly stay safe, warm and happy, so here is some advice to prepare for winter.

Free Resources and Advice

Keeping your home warm in the colder months can be expensive, but if you are over 65 then there are a variety of allowances and discounts that can be claimed. Make sure that you or your relative/neighbour is claiming the Winter Fuel Payment https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/overview, and some people will also be eligible for the Warm Home Discount from their energy bills. What’s more, many elderly people can get free insulation for their home to increase its energy efficiency.

Where health is concerned, the flu vaccine is free of charge for anyone over 65. Although some people are reluctant to have the jab because of the symptoms that set in after having it, this strain of the flu is actually incredibly mild and will clear up within a few days. Contracting the real flu, on the other hand, can have much more serious effects and even be fatal to vulnerable people.

Prepare and Stock Up

Before winter arrives, make sure that you or your relative has plenty of warm clothes and layers, a fully working electricity blanket (these need servicing every few years) and lots of salt in the house in case the entrance to the house gets icy. However you should also think about stocking up on medicines, any repeat prescriptions, and food cupboard essentials in case of illness or being unable to leave the house.

Extra Help

Leaving the house can be a great risk when it’s cold and icy, with thousands of accidents every year due to slips, trips and falls. Therefore you should take into consideration that unnecessary visits to the shops, post office, bank and other places can be unwise for older people. Either you as a relative or neighbour can take the initiative to offer to do these trips yourself, or by signing up for regular home care visits, a professional and friendly assistant can help with those tasks that are difficult during winter.

Whether you are over 65 and worried about the season ahead or a relative, friend or neighbour who is looking out for someone elderly, be aware of the dangers that the colder months can pose. Prepare the home and stock up on essentials, avoid unnecessary trips outdoors, and take advantage of the various free resources and facilities, that can help the elderly to have a safe and happy winter in the UK. If you have any further tips put them in the comments.

Article by Kelly Gilmour-Grassam, follow her at @KellyGGrassam. She is a Yorkshire lass who likes good food and great travel, she wrote this article with helpful info from Locala HomeCare.