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As the temperature drops and the nights get longer, it’s more important than ever to think about those more vulnerable than us, including the elderly. For some it can be a period of time where social contact reduces, so here are our thoughts on how you can help the vulnerable over the festive period.
1. Several short visits would be better than one long visit
Try and plan a few phone calls or cups of tea, Christmas can be a lonely time of year for some, try to think beyond your immediate family. Is there a neighbour who would love some company over the festive period? Why not pop round with a mince pie…
2. Hypothermia – spot the early signs
Fuel is becoming more expensive, and as we head into colder weather, elderly may try to cut back on the heating to save on the bills. A room that might seem warm enough for you may not be for the infirm or those who cannot exercise, an ideal temperature would be 20-21 Celsius. Early signs of hyperthermia can include:
As the ice sets in, many vulnerable people have falls and breaks can often be left untreated. If they have had a fall, check any bruises just in case. Similarly, many vulnerable people are afraid to go out in poor weather conditions, so why not offer to help with a weekly shop?
Having the heating up higher can cause dehydration. Even mild dehydration can affect your energy levels and leave you feeling tired or confused so try to ensure the elderly and vulnerable are drinking enough water.
Over Christmas daily routines go out the window and this could make it easier to forget to take important medications. Perhaps set alarms as reminders, or pop in at medicine times.
If you have any concerns about a friend or relative contact the medical services on 111 or in an emergency dial 999.