5. Keeping warm
Being cold for any length of time is a serious health risk - particularly for older people and those who are inactive and have poor circulation. A drop in body temperature can cause hypothermia, which can result in loss of consciousness and, in extreme circumstances, death. The person you are caring for may feel the cold far more than you do, but they may not realise it or may be unable to tell you. The following things should help.
- Try to make sure that any rooms that are occupied during the day are kept warm. Draught-proofing and roof insulation will help.
- Encourage wearing layers of clothing, ideally with natural fibres, such as cotton and wool.
- Encourage regular movement, such as standing and sitting repeatedly, as this increases body temperature.
- Drinking hot beverages can also help people stay warm.
- If someone feels the cold a lot, they may need to wear a hat, gloves and warm socks if they go out, especially in cold weather - and indoors too, if necessary.
- Equipment can be installed to warn of extreme temperatures in the home.