How to get yourself and your home ready for the Winter period, keep yourself comfortable, stay healthy and combat cold and flu virus
With the cooler months only weeks away, we have prepared a quick guide to help you get organised and prepared for Winter. In order to stay healthy during the winter you must make sure you are keeping your home and yourself warm, to stay happy and help fight off the common cold and flu viruses that are often around at this time of year.
The average temperatures in Winter for New South Wales are around 16 degrees during the day and 7 degrees at night – this is subject to your local area. Staying warm is the key to good health!
Choosing winter clothing
As we age our bodies begin to react to climate changes and temperate drops in a more sensitive way than they did in our earlier years. When leaving your home, you should make sure you are well protected from the colder air, to help maintain your body’s core temperature. Keeping your core temperature stable helps the body reserve energy that it can use to stay healthy – being cold has an effect on our bodies. To avoid hyperthermia, wearing layers is a good idea as well as a coat, hat and gloves when leaving our homes. Here is a quick checklist to help remind you what you might need before venturing out!
- Thermal clothing
- Lots of layers
- Woollen lined coats
- Hat, scarf, and gloves
- Thick quality socks
Preparing the home for Winter
Australian homes are understandably better built and prepared for the heat given our long and hot summers, rather than cold winters. Spending only a little time preparing your home can really help improve the warmth and reduce heating costs! Here are a few basics that can help keep the heat in, with out spending lots of money and time:
- Windows – Check for gaps around your window edges, these will let cold air in and allow warm air out. Fill these with a sealant, or even masking tape as a temporary fix. Make sure your windows have coverings on them – curtains and insulation foam can work well and will help keep the home warm.
- Sunshine – if you have areas of your home that are still getting the warmth of sunlight, take advantage! Placing your chair there, indoor washing or pet beds will make use of this natural free warmth, as well as letting in natural light which has its own benefits.
- Doors – Place draught stoppers on external doors to help reduce the draft coming from these areas.
- Rugs – If your home has timber floorboards or tiling, placing rugs over drafty spots and locations where you spend more time can have a big impact on keeping heat in and your feet warm!
- Use heating timers – If your have split system air conditioning or any other type of heater, using timers can help you use it more effectively and save money. Setting it to turn on 1 hour before you wake up, and turn off 15 minutes after you leave for the day ensures you have a comfortable and stress-free wake up without having to run it all night. You can also program it to turn on shortly before you return home, and switch off around bed time. There are programmable power point outlets available that even tiny fan heaters can be plugged into at your local hardware, department or electrical stores.
Food for the Soul
Maintaining a balanced, varied, and healthy diet is always imperative to help your body and mind to work to their best of their capabilities. It is even more critical to do so during the cold winter months, where reductions in vitamin D and outdoor time can cause some people seasonal depression. Staying healthy and taking advantage of the season to chow down on plenty of hot meals is the way to go! Winter food should include plenty of vegetables, protein and healthy fats in moderation to support your immune system and keep feeling your best.
Smoke Detectors/CO2 Detectors
As we start to prepare for the cooler nights, we start to dig out our heaters that have often been in storage for 12 months. This time of year we can see an increase in fire danger in the home. Gas heaters are recommended to be serviced every 12 months and installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home to detect any leaks. Make sure your smoke alarm is in good working order, ask a family member to help or consult official fire advice if you cannot safety check this yourself.
Keep warm and stay warm
Keeping your body temperature regulated in winter is great for keeping you healthy. Keeping the heating set on a thermostat and a timer will help keep the room from dropping below your assigned temperature. Here are some useful tips:
- Layer your clothing
- Use a hot water bottle or heat pack when in bed or sitting for long periods
- Stay active -try to move around as much as possible in your home
- Keep the windows closed and covered to avoid the heat escaping
Having mobility issues can sometimes make you more vulnerable to infections, so it is good to stay as active as possible. Chair yoga is the perfect for the elderly community who may be frail or unsteady on their feet, helping to loosen tired or aching joints through basic stretching, which can result in an improvement in pain and blood circulation. ConnectAbility provide activities as well as the transport to and from the Jesmond Community Hub where you can participate in these events.
Ordering any prescriptions or regular medicines ahead of time will ensure you have a Winter supply and will avoid having to make an unnecessary trip out into the cold. Many pharmacies also offer delivery – find out if this is an option in your local area!
Getting around safely
If you drive, make sure you take care on roads that may become dangerous and slippery in areas that might be prone to frost or ice. This can be the same issue when you are on foot, and investing in a pair of winter boots with a good sole, as well as using handrails when available can also help avoid a serious injury. ConnectAbility provides safe transport options for its clients, however some considerations for when you’re out and about include:
- Avoid rushing
- Use handrails where available
- Avoid carrying lots of shopping bags at once
- Wear flat shoes with rubber soles
- Keep floor mats inside to prevent slippery surfaces in the home
- Sprinkle kitty litter on icy surfaces
Asking for help
ConnectAbility Australia offer a diverse support system for our older clients, with in home personal care, domestic assistance with shopping, meal planning, medication management, social supports and respite care available both in home and in the community. Whether you are looking for support and help through this Winter or for the foreseeable future, we are here to help. Contact our team for more information – 02 4962 1000.