As the temperature drops, when windy and rainy days become the norm, most people wrap up warm and take steps to remain fit and healthy. As care givers, there are plenty of actions we can take to make sure our clients are properly looked after.
The cold weather is here again. From a mild September and decent mid-October, the run-up to Christmas looks as though there could be plenty of snow and ice!
Visiting a client’s home should always mean much more than simply completing a set of daily tasks. As dedicated, conscientious professionals, we have a duty of care. We should always look to make things better and improve the lives of those in our care.
The winter months can be harsh, especially for the elderly. Although someone might appear to be okay, everyone at Side by Side Care takes great pride in doing a little extra. We like to cater for times when we or the service user’s family members cannot be there.
Layers keep the heat in!
When we make a visit, we always offer clients help with dressing if they need it, and where possible offer simple pieces of advice. Just putting the heating on high isn’t always the best solution, and those winter fuel bills can be a nasty surprise – especially when you’re on a tight budget.
Perhaps the best advice during any cold snap is to wear many layers rather than one or two chunky, seemingly warm items of clothing. A thin-shirt, then a long-sleeved top, a jumper and even a jacket worn together will trap pockets of air. This helps to insulate your body and keep you warmer. Also, use the cosy, smaller rooms when you can, and keep doors and window shut and properly sealed with draught excluders.
And ensure that the boiler has been properly serviced and is as efficient as possible.
Hot drinks make you smile
You can never have enough warm fluid during the winter months. It’s the first thing we offer, and also the last before we finish a call. A cup of tea or coffee is guaranteed to make you feel warm inside and put a smile on your face. It really can be the perfect answer to so many of life’s problems.
A flask is also a great way to help someone get through the day, hopefully until the next care giver’s visit or when a family member pops round to say hello. If someone is a bit unsteady on their feet, or struggles with arthritis, preparing drinks and food gives them peace of mind and ensures that they can get the nourishment and vitamins they need to ease them through the day.
If you can, keep on moving!
Not everyone can get out and about, and many elderly people struggle moving around their home. With careful supervision, and paying close attention to safe manual handling and moving techniques, care givers can encourage service users to take part in simple exercises.
Keeping fit, and getting the blood pumping around your body, is essential for your general health and well-being. Even little steps make a difference. It also keeps you warmer if you stay supple and move more, allowing the blood to circulate properly. This should always be done when there’s someone available to offer support.
The little touches matter…
Sometimes it’s not rocket science giving someone the means to stay warmer on cold days. We love wheat bags, as you can heat them in the microwave and use them as a handy, portable warmer. You can tuck them behind your back to ease pains and provide a lovely, steady heat. We often make sure our service users have a wheat bag heated before we finish the call.
If the client is chair bound for much of the day, one or two blankets left within easy reach will offer additional comfort and warmth should the temperature drop further in between care giver visits. Also, something as simple as a room temperature gauge can keep everyone alerted to the temperature before you feel the cold.
And finally, it might sound daft, but find a hat and scarf. Really. Much of the body’s heat is lost through the head, so even indoors it’s worth looking like a snowman! Well, it is heading towards Christmas after all.
Always together, always side by side…