It’s no secret that those in their elderly years are more prone to illness than younger people, and it’s also no secret that winter is a particularly dangerous time of the year for various illnesses and conditions.
Here are some health problems to watch out for if you have elderly loved ones…
You’ll quite often see people sniffling and sneezing during the winter months, but an annoying cold to most can be potentially lethal for older people. A good way to prevent colds is to wash your hands regularly as this will wash away most of the germs that can cause colds. Also keep surfaces clean as well as items such as towels, cups and glasses as these can easily pass the infection.
A lot of people claim to have the flu when, in fact, they only have a cold. If you have the flu then it will put them out of action for quite a while and they will likely be bed-ridden. Again, like colds, the flu is potentially fatal for the elderly and many die from it each year, particularly if they have underlying health issues. Free flu jabs are available from your GP for the most vulnerable groups of people which include the elderly.
Heart attacks can strike at any time of the year but are most common in winter, likely because the cold weather increases blood pressure and makes the heart work harder to maintain body temperature. The best advice to avoid heart attacks during the winter is to keep warm, both at home and when outdoors so that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Of course, a healthy lifestyle is also always important when it comes to heart issues.
Painful Joints and Arthritis
If you’ve had an injury or operation then you may well have noticed that it gets more painful during the cold weather. The cold can make joints stiff, so regular light exercise can help ease the pain. However, whilst joints may be more painful over the winter, there’s no evidence to suggest that the cold weather actually causes damage or makes the problem worse.
Poor circulation, also called Raynaud’s phenomenon, is something that affects a lot of people and is more prominent in winter. It is a problem caused by blood vessels going into spasm and can cause the fingers and toes to go white and become very painful. Wearing warm clothing can help keep those areas warm, but not smoking or drinking caffeine can also help.
Depression is a condition that is often overlooked but can be immensely debilitating. Poor health and loneliness can have a severe effect on mental health and it’s not something that is so easily diagnosed or treated. If you have elderly friends or family then the best advice is to simply ensure you visit regularly, check on their health and help sort health issues as soon as they arise. If this is something that is becoming a problem, then there are various care homes for the elderly at Extra Care and other such retirement villages where there are always people and trained staff at hand to help.