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.
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.
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.