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Winter is here – stay safe in the cold!

Tagged as: flu vaccination, fall risk, staying connected, find a carer.

Australia is right in the middle of winter. Depending on where you are, this could mean a pleasant reprieve from hot weather, or watching snowflakes fall in your garden!

Where ever you are, winter brings with it cooler weather and shorter days. Older people, people with disability and children are particularly vulnerable to the challenges that this brings. Be aware of the risks, and stay safe this winter.


Slippery when wet!

Winter can bring rain, frost and ice. It’s important to avoid wet, slippery surfaces where possible, to avoid tripping or falling.

Make sure you wear well-fitting shoes with good grip when you’re outside. Be especially careful when you come inside from the wet, especially in public places like shopping centres where the floor can be slippery.

Stay warm

Add lots of extra layers when you head outside in the cold. Pay attention to your extremities – your fingers and toes can get cold very quickly. It’s important to keep your core temperature at a safe level.

Use your heater to keep your house warm, but make sure it’s safe! Get gas heaters checked yearly, and all other heaters serviced regularly.

And even though it’s winter, heaters can cause dehydration, so keep up your fluids!

The days are short

Shorter days in winter means less sunlight. This might affect your sleep patterns, with many people struggling to get to sleep, or stay asleep. Make sure you get as much sunlight as possible during the day, especially in the morning – open the blinds, get outside (making sure you’re warm enough) or sit by a window to read. This helps to regulate the hormones that help you to sleep.

An imbalance in these hormones can also cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD). If you notice that you feel down or depressed in winter, this could be the cause! Increasing your exposure to sunlight may help, or you may need to talk to your doctor about other strategies to improve your mood during the darker months.

A lack of sunlight can increase your risk of being deficient in Vitamin D. Your doctor can do a blood test to check if you need to supplement your Vitamin D. This might be a case of increasing your intake of Vitamin D rich foods like milk, yoghurt and juice, or taking a supplement as guided by your doctor.

Stay connected

It can be harder to get out on cold, wet days, but don’t let winter get in the way of getting together! Make sure you regularly talk to a friend, family member, carer or support worker. Even a quick daily phone call can help you to feel connected.

Winter can be a lonely time. If you know someone who might be isolated, give them a call or a visit.

Stay healthy

All the bugs come out in winter! Keep healthy by trying these tips:

  • Wash your hands regularly, and use hand sanitiser when you’re out and about
  • Make sure your flu vaccination and pneumonia vaccination are up to date
  • See your doctor if you get sick, and talk to them about an action plan for winter
  • Stay active – even a few laps of your house or some chair based exercises can keep your body and mind active

A little extra care can ensure you stay safe and healthy through the cold months of the year. Take care of yourself and of the people you love!

Find a Carer

Published 31 May 2021

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