Every year I always find myself being surprised at how cold it is in January. For some reason it always seems that Christmas should be the end of winter, though really, it's only just beginning.
If you look after someone, winter can be a really hard time for you, the person you care for, and the other people in your household. The heating bills go up, and leaving the house suddenly becomes much harder having to wrap up warm and prepare for slippery ice. And while other people might be excited by the fact it's snowing, for young adult carers, snow can lead to a lot of worry. Here are some tips to help you and the person you care for stay safe, well and warm this winter.
1. Get a flu jab
If you look after someone who is elderly or disabled, and if you receive carers allowance, you can get a flu jab for free. Getting the flu jab not only means you have better protection from illness, which can make it difficult to care for someone else, but also means that you're less likely to pass on the flu to the person you care for and the people in your household.
The person you care for can also get a free flu jab if they're 65 or older or have a certain health condition. Check out more information here.
2. Look into benefits and grants for heating your home
If you look after someone who is elderly they may be entitled to funding or benefits to help heat the home. This can be really useful, especially as keeping the heating on is important to stay well, yet can be expensive. Check out the government's information on the Winter Fuel Payment and the Cold Weather Payment, or if you're in Wiltshire, have a look at Warm and Safe Wiltshire for more advice, information and support.
3. Wrap up warm and stay prepared
When going out in the cold, make sure you stay wrapped up warm and ensure the person you care for is covered up. It might be a good idea to look up the weather forecast the day before you have to go out to see what the weather might be like so you can prepare.
If the person you care for needs to go to the doctors but is unable to get out because of the cold weather, you can call your GP surgery and request a home visit. You can also call 111 for advice, and remember to always call 999 in an emergency.
4. Look after you
It can be stressful looking after someone in the winter time, and can be a worrying time. But remember to look after yourself, do the things you enjoy, take time for yourself and your own health and wellbeing. Make sure to keep active if you can - this helps you to stay warm, and if you need to talk to anyone you can reach out to us through here, or call 0800 181 4118. You're not alone this winter.