12th October 2017
The leaves have started to fall from the trees – a sign that summer is over and we are on the way to shorter days and colder nights. Autumn can be challenging time for the elderly, but it can be a real help to prepare as much as possible for this time of year, and to make sure that loved ones are happy, comfortable and prepared going into the Winter season.
A number of different vaccinations are available on the NHS for elderly people with the aim of strengthening their immunity. As we get older, our bodies become less efficient at protecting us, meaning that we find it harder to fend off even common infections such as the flu. Taking advantage of vaccination programmes at the start of the season means that older people can be as prepared as possible for the Winter months.
People who have claimed the Winter Fuel Payment in the past will not need to reapply for it every year, however it is worth noting that this is available to people aged 65 or over and is worth £100-300. This can be a real help to top up the pension to pay for additional heating needs.
It is important that an elderly person’s heating systems are checked at the start of every Autumn - not only to ensure that they’re working effectively, but also to check that they’re safe. It can take time to do this, whether someone is living at home or in sheltered housing, so it’s advisable to do it with plenty of time before the temperatures drop.
Although it has started to get cooler, Autumn is a beautiful time of year to enjoy the outside. Precautions must be taken to make sure that an elderly person has suitable footwear as leaves on the ground get more slippery, as well as a suitable coat for the changing temperatures. Helping to make sure that pathways and outside spaces are clear of debris can make the outside a safe to enjoy at this time of year.
This is perhaps the most important point of all. As the Autumn and Winter months close in, it can be significantly more difficult for an older person to get out and about, and as such they can have less contact with others on a day to day basis. A ‘check in’ system with friends and relatives, either through a phone call or somebody dropping in, can make a huge difference to somebody’s sense of wellbeing. The sense of isolation can be overwhelming, and the positive impact of arranging to help in this manner cannot be understated. Organising to drop in with groceries or help with other tasks can have both a practical and emotional impact on a loved one, as they can enjoy regular contact with other people increasing their health and happiness throughout the season.