Written by Stannah at 26-06-2017
If you were a character in the epic TV show Game of Thrones, you would feel a chill in your bones at the words ‘Winter is Coming’. But because you’re Australian, you may even welcome the winter season after the long and hot summer.
The truth is that Australians are lucky in that our climate means that we are generally spared the more extreme winter weather.
However, it can get chilly in some areas. So, prevention should be taken into consideration and we are happy to provide you some advice on how to stay healthy in winter.
Here are seven ways the elderly can take to fight the cold:
1 – Fight the cold
Very few areas of Australia actually get really cold in winter, but the temperature drop from the heights of summer is still dramatic and potentially dangerous if your homes aren’t kept warm.
This is even more important if you suffer from pre-existing health conditions and if there are financial pressures that might affect someone’s ability to keep the heating on as much as it’s needed. There are ways you can stay warm though, including:
- Instead of one thick layer of clothing, wearing multiple light layers.
- Drink hot drinks and eat hot meals.
- Keep doors and windows closed and block any obvious draughts.
2 – Fight the common cold & flu
Winter is the time when the common cold and flu are widespread around the country, with the drop in temperatures leaving many elderly people particularly vulnerable to nasty bouts of illness.
These are unpleasant enough for anyone, but can be very serious if complications develop. There are ways you can try and avoid catching a cold.
- Get immunised every year, preferably early in the season.
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitizers.
- If you know someone who has a bad cold, steer clear!
3 – Stay active
When the weather outside is frightful and the fire is delightful, the temptation is there to stay on the sofa, but it’s more important than ever to keep busy and active.
If it’s too cold and wet outside to join a walking group, find indoor exercises you can get involved with and your body will thank you.
4 – Sleep warm and sleep tight
Night times are when the temperatures can drop, so make sure you stay wrapped up warm in your beds and keep your bedrooms well insulated and draught-free.
It’s important to get enough sleep in winter too, so avoid substances like alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes which can affect how well you can sleep making you more likely to get ill.
5 – Be careful when driving
Driving in winter can be more dangerous, especially for elderly drivers, when the weather is overcast and wet.
It’s crucial to take caution in slippery conditions and to consider whether a journey is essential or whether a friend or family member might be able to take you if you are feeling uncertain about venturing out.
Some basic tips for driving in heavy rain are:
- Go slow! Nothing is that much of a rush that you need to take risks while driving.
- Remember to turn your lights on to increase your visibility on the road.
- Give other vehicles extra space.
6 – Be careful when walking
It can be slippery walking in winter time and for elderly people that can increase the chances of a nasty fall. Here are some tips to help you try and avoid this:
- Wear appropriate footwear with good grip.
- Use short steps if you feel unstable.
- Don’t put your hands in your pockets, so they are free for balance and breaking your fall.
7 – Eat well and drink well
We’ve already mentioned the importance of eating hot meals and drinking warm drinks, but it’s also essential to avoid falling into the trap of comfort foods that are high in salt, fat and sugar.
Warming soups and lots of winter fruits and vegetables are what you need to boost your immune systems, keep you cosy and healthy and happy all winter long.
Following these seven handy tips, we hope you stay healthy and safe this winter!