Looking out for the elderly during the winter months

lizfraser
24 Feb 2017

The winter months are not the easiest. For any of us. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s wet. Often it’s dark, cold, wet and windy, which is especially lovely. It is, indeed, the cruelest, most tiring season for families, especially for elderly relatives.


The winter months are not the easiest. For any of us. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s wet. Often it’s dark, cold, wet and windy, which is especially lovely.
 
Laundry doesn’t dry, everyone gets coughs and colds, the heating bill mounts up and just getting our children out of bed in the morning is a struggle that exhausts most of us before the day has even started!

 
 
 
It is, indeed, the cruelest, most tiring season for families and already my children look in desperate need of some sunshine and Vitamin D, and can barely get up in time for school they are so tired.
 
For certain members of the family it can be especially tough; the elderly relatives. And we need to pay particular attention to them over the winter months to make sure they are well, not just physically, but emotionally too.
 
There is a lot we can do to help our older relatives over the winter. Just staying in touch is a huge start. My grandparents loved nothing more than a quick phone call, just to say hello and share some family news and gossip. I could hear the joy in their voices, especially when they could talk to my children.
 
It’s also a very good way to listen to them, see how they sound and if there are any coughs you should know about, or if they are sounding low or weak.
 
A visit is extra special and the elderly can get a huge mental and emotional boost from seeing young people, listening to their chatter, watching them grow and so on. It’s often very tiring though, so it’s a good idea to keep these visits quite short, so as not to undo any of the benefits by exhausting them!
 
Let’s not forget that older people don’t tend to move about as much, meaning inevitably can get very cold. They often try to save money on heating, getting even colder. Popping round for a visit is a good way to make sure they are well heated, well fed, and have the basics like fresh food in the house.
 
Of course, not all of us live near our older relatives, so a visit is almost impossible most of the time. In such circumstances, having someone else to go and check on them is crucial. It can be a neighbor you trust, or a professional carer who can do either daily or weekly visits, to cheer them up, have a chat, and make sure they are keeping well.
 
Care.com is a great place to find such local, professional elderly carers, for your own peace of mind and to keep your older relatives properly looked after in the dark months.
 
However you choose to do it, try to make sure you DO. It’s all too easy to focus on our own immediate family, and forget how hard the Winter is on the older members, who can be very vulnerable, and need care and attention.
 
They won’t be here forever, and we need to look after them when they need it most.
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