Older people must prepare for winter months says NACC

Older people are being urged to prepare now for a long cold winter, by the National Association of Care Catering, as temperatures are already starting to plummet. Many forecasters are predicting a bitter winter and have warned that temperatures could get as low as they did last year.

In order to help pensioners be as prepared as possible for the winter months the NACC has been working with Local Authorities to develop new ‘Keeping Well in Winter’ guidelines which will be issued through their members to as many of the 11.58[i] million people of pensionable age (over 60 for women and 65 for men) as possible.

Older people can struggle with everyday tasks many of us take for granted, such as shopping for groceries, carrying shopping home or even getting to the shops. This can become even harder during the winter months as the cold weather also marks the arrival of winter illnesses, such as colds and flu, which are most likely to affect the more vulnerable, including the elderly.

The NACC is urging not just older people, but also their friends and family to make sure a plan is in place and advises all to read through these new guidelines. ‘Keeping Well in Winter’ includes a variety of important guidance:

Keep warm

  • Wear several thin layers of clothes rather than one thick layer
  • Choose clothes made with wool, cotton or fleecy materials
  • In the coldest weather wear bed socks and a hat, as well as thermal nightwear

Keep your home warm

  • Fit draught proofing to help seal gaps around windows and doors
  • Lay insulation in the loft to reduce heat loss
  • Ensure your hot water cylinder and pipes are lagged, including pipes in the loft
  • Check your heating system is working properly and serviced at least once a year
  • Make sure you know how to set the heating controls

Eat well

  • Aim to have at least one hot meal a day and have hot drinks regularly through the day
  • Have a hot drink before bedtime
  • Prepare a thermos flask of a hot drink to have by your bed in case you feel cold in the night

Derek Johnson, NACC Chairman said: “Winter is a time when everyone’s health can suffer. However, Illness like flu and pneumonia can lead to serious complications for older people so it is really important to ensure their health is in good check and they are eating well. The NACC works hard to ensure all older people have access to nutritionally balanced meals, as good nutrition is even more vital during the winter months.”

“We hope this new set of guidelines will provide older people with the information and the tools they need to stay in good health this winter.”

The NACC is also urging older people to ensure they have an up to date list of all the names and numbers of people or organizations they may need to contact quickly and display this in an area easy to locate such as a bedroom or living room. The new ‘Keeping Well in Winter’ guidelines provide a section at the back where all these details can be entered easily.

The new leaflet is available from www.thenacc.co.uk. For more information or to get a copy please contact The NACC 08707480180.

[i] Office of National Statistics

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