How to help the elderly and vulnerable this winter?

The winter season is challenging in many ways: from increasing bills to unexpected breakages and lingering coughs and colds. But situations, which cause temporary discomfort for the regular person can be extremely difficult and even dangerous for the elderly and vulnerable.

A beautiful snowfall, covering the city with a white blanket usually leads to a very welcome day off work for many; for the elderly and vulnerable the snow can mean limited access to food and shopping, risk of ice-related injuries and even hypothermia, as many can’t afford to heat their whole house.

In fact in 2016, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at 2.55 million, representing approximately 11.1% of all English households. Knowing how to assist the elderly and vulnerable during the coldest time of the year, can prove life-saving.

Have you got an elderly relative or vulnerable neighbour who might be in need of assistance this winter? Here is how you can help:

  1. Accompany them to their GP, so they can get the flu jab.

    Everyone over 65 is entitled to a free flu jab, from their doctor or pharmacist. Even if your elderly friend is fit and healthy, the flu jab is a great way to add extra protection – for themselves and others.

 
  1. Help them prepare their home for the winter.

    It’s cheaper to heat a well-insulated home. Draught-proof doors and windows, lag the hot water pipes and insulate the loft. Make sure their heating system has been serviced, and check if it’s working. As well as preparing their home, make sure their medicine cabinet is stocked with cold and flu medicine, cough syrup, painkillers and such like so no unnecessary trips are needed on cold slipper days.

 

  1. Consider investing in the future.

    Broken boilers, frozen pipes and malfunctioning heating system can be especially dangerous for the elderly and vulnerable. These emergencies often happen in the coldest, busiest days of the year and booking an engineer can be expensive or borderline impossible due to the demand. Signing up for one of our Care Club plans guarantees priority treatment, no excess and all parts and labour included. So why not invest in a Care Club plan for your parents’ house?

 

  1. Keep in touch.

    Getting out and about can become a real challenge when the winter arrives. Don’t forget to regularly call your elderly and vulnerable friends and family, and if you have the time – visit more often. After all, nothing can replace human connection.

 

  1. Do something nice for them…

    Buying a gift like a hot water bottle, electric blanket or a nice warm jumper can be used for extra comfort and warmth but make sure they’re not the primary source of warmth though, as they shouldn’t be used as an alternative to proper heating. Make sure their thermostat is on 18 degrees at the minimum and set up a time for them if needed and make sure they’re wearing snug warm layers too.

 

  1. Ask if help is needed.

    Often, the elderly and vulnerable won’t ask for help, as they wouldn’t want to disturb you. Show that you care by asking what needs to be done. If the weather is bad, just doing the shopping, clearing the paths and driveways or salting the steps can be of great help to someone.

When the coldest season arrives make sure to check up on the elderly and vulnerable people in your life. A simple call or a weekly visit will boost their mood and you can enjoy your peace of mind, knowing that they’re happy, healthy and warm.