Caring for Elderly Individuals in Winter

caring for elderly

If you’re tasked with caring for elderly relatives, friends or neighbours, winter might offer additional challenges. A lot of elderly people struggle with the winter months as the temperatures drop older people feel it much more than most, plus they may be more restricted in terms of getting out and about in winter months as the roads get slippy.

If you have the responsibility of caring for elderly individuals, then it’s likely they’re going to need your help in winter much more than the rest of the year.

Carers Need Care Too

Managing the needs of elderly parents or others, in addition to a busy family life where you might already feel like you are spinning plates and trying to balance the demands of work and family, can add additional stress to your life. It’s vitally important you practice “self care” as similar to the announcement airline pilots make about tending to your own oxygen mask first before helping others. It’s important you tend to your own needs first – and then help others. 

Caring For Elderly Individuals isn’t Always Easy

There’s a reason so many families outsource the care of their elderly parents or other relatives to professional carers or nursing homes. There’s also a reason people are so reluctant to do this, as it can feel like you are palming off your responsibility and “throwing money at the problem” rather than tending to the emotional intricacies of such a difficult situation. If this is the situation you find yourself in, don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for anything. Ensuring that those you care for have the very best in terms of care and quality of life is what’s most important.

Social Time During Winter

In addition to the issues of heat and food that are vital to your elderly relative’s health in winter especially,  an often overlooked need is that of social engagement and “connection”.  During winter accessibility can be an issue, especially in bad weather. If you are caring for elderly friends, family or neighbours these few tips may help you recognise how social time can be prioritised.

 

  • MAKE TIME FOR THEM

 

A lot of elderly parents feel like a burden to their children, as they recognise that with such busy lives and activities taking place.  That said, they greatly appreciate the company of their children as often the only company many elderly people have is that provided by the television. Try to schedule in time for visits and check-ins, as often as you can. The greatest gift you can give your parents especially is not that of massive success, grandchildren, or a wonderful Christmas gift – it’s simply spending regular time with them and engaging in their world.

  1. COMPANIONSHIP

There are many voluntary and paid companionship opportunities, where people will come and spend time with your relative.  This is particularly important if someone has lost their wife or husband, as the loneliness facing many old people causes more pain than most physical diseases. Speak to their local community care association of age-related charity to see what companionship opportunities are available.

3. SOCIAL GROUPS

In addition to companions visiting older people, social groups can be a great way to encourage new friendships and to combat loneliness. What does your local area offer in terms of social activities and clubs. Blook clubs, sports, bingo, upcycling, volunteering and more are all great ways to engage in social time outside of the house.

In Summary

Caring for elderly individuals is more complicated than some people might realise. We all have a number of things to consider when it comes to our own lives, from health to social inclusivity. When it comes to winter, some elderly people find it harder to get out, this contributes to loneliness. In addition to this winter offers other challenges to the elderly and those caring for them. Please speak to carer associations, age charities and local groups to ensure your elderly friend or a family member has everything that they need and that you too, as a caregiver, get a break from time to time and additional support.

Loneliness

loneliness

Today is World Mental Health Day and I want to talk about loneliness. New research has shown that loneliness is no longer just a problem that only impacts older people, it can also impact younger people too. What this new research highlights is the fact that a large percentage of adults are reporting feeling loneliness for one reason or another, which is a rather sad concept – no one should feel lonely. Loneliness is something that many experience every day.

I’m not going to lie, loneliness can be difficult to deal with and can have a huge impact on your mental health and happiness, which is why it’s essential that if you are struggling with loneliness that you take steps to change that.

The fact is that while it’s not always easy to improve the social life that you have and step out of leading a lonely life, it is possible to do so. Are you wondering what it takes to lead a more sociable life and stop feeling lonely? Have a read of the tips below and implement them in terms of how you lead your life.

Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

One of the number one reasons that people suffer from loneliness is because they struggle to step outside of their comfort zone. If you are the kind of person who struggles with anxiety, stepping outside of your comfort zone might not be as easy as you would think. It’s hard to be brave but worth the effort. You need to find the courage to take that leap of faith, a great way to do that is to set an incentive for yourself if you manage to do something that you wouldn’t normally do. You might find that despite wanting to that you just can’t, and in that case, it could be time to ask for

Set Aside Time for Socialising

With the hectic work schedules that many of us have, it’s not always easy to make time for seeing friends or making new friends. However, unless you want to be lonely, it’s essential that you set aside time each week for seeing your friends or for making new ones. Take a look at your weekly schedule and determine when and where you can fit time in to socialise. By making time for this you can ensure that you actually have time to see your friends. It’s all about prioritising your self-care.

Try Something New

Sometimes, it can feel impossible to make new friends. Meeting new people is easy when you’re younger; when you’re mixing with lots of people at school or university, but as you get older it can become extremely difficult to meet new people. One of the best ways to meet someone new is by trying out new things.

The first step to take when it comes to finding something new to do is to Google activities in your local area. You will be amazed at the wide range of options that are available for you to try, from tango classes to sign language classes. You will also find that there are various socials arranged, such as walks, *pub crawls, and sports match watching events that anyone can attend. It’s not always easy making new friends, but trying out new things can make the process far easier, particularly if you attend a wide number of different local activities and events.

Not sure what to try out? Think about what you enjoy doing and look for local events and activities that might fit your interests. For instance, say you enjoy playing sports, perhaps you could find a local sports club to join, or if you’re someone who loves to cook, perhaps you could opt to join a local cooking class.

Loneliness is a serious problem and can have a serious impact on your general health and happiness, which is why it’s so important that you find a way to combat loneliness and improve your social life in a positive way. Hopefully, the tips and ideas above will help you to do that, so that you can prevent lonliness and associated problems from occuring in your life.

If you are struggling with any physical or mental health issues please see your GP who will be able to offer tailored support to meet your individual needs and also signpost you to other sources of help.

*Always drink responsibly.

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