Winter is many people’s favourite time of the year. Some of the best photographs are taken during the colder months, with beautiful snowfall, icicles forming on window ledges, and bare trees against a pale sky. Its also the time of year when Christmas comes around, and we spend time decorating the traditional pine tree, and cooking dinner for family, while celebrating and being merry together.

For some, Winter isn’t a great time of year. Its even harder to get out, with treacherous icy paths, and shops are busier thanks to Christmas shoppers, and it is cold. It doesn’t just affect our social lives, but also our mood. For those on a low income, it can be very difficult to afford heating, and keeping warm becomes difficult at times.

Those of us caring for elderly people who may be affected by the negative side of winter know better than anyone how important it is to care for our relatives and neighbours when they may struggle at this difficult time of year. Some elderly people may not be in touch with family, and will have no help at all, many because they do not know who to ask. Here are some top tips to help you help those vulnerable people around you who need a little extra support:

  • Get them in the spirit of the season – Help them with Christmas decorations. Getting excited for Christmas gives them something to look forward to, plus it makes the house brighter and inevitably a happier place to be when there is a tree and lots of lovely decorations up.
  • Help with shopping and going out – When shops are busy, it can make the more frail people among us nervous, as others bustle by without a care over who they push or brush against. The chances of falling, getting hurt, or being a victim of crime can be very daunting. Take a list, and pick up their shopping or whatever they need. Alternatively, offer to take them to the shops so they may do their own.

  • Help them keep their homes warm – Some elderly people may be entitled to help with heating costs or insulation from the government but many do not know this, or are unsure how to apply. Getting this information or arranging this for them before winter takes hold would be very beneficial. Make sure there are blankets and warm clothing such as cardigans or jumpers available for them to put on if it’s a particularly chilly day, and make sure the heating is in full working order.

  • Keep them company – Even just visiting to make sure they are happy means the world. Why not take some homemade food such as butternut squash soup, a true winter-warmer, and some crusty bread to go with it, and have yourselves a little lunch date!

  • Make sure they can manage when you are not around – Encourage them to look after their health, and to eat properly. Illness tends to spread quicker in winter because people get run down or don’t care for themselves correctly, so close attention should be paid to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Also, check that everything they need is easy to access, to avoid them struggling or having to go out. If there are specific things they have difficulty doing, see if there are any healthcare products or aids available to help them manage the task.

If you have an elderly neighbour who is going to be alone this season, why not try and build a better relationship with them, and let them know they can count on you over the cold winter months.