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Carers' guide to winter health and safety

This is our winter reminder, that it's never too late to start looking after ourselves. As carers, not only does our health matter for us, but also for our ability to continue providing care. We're a big deal!

Illustration of a woman at home during the winter.

Here are our top tips for staying safe and healthy through those cold, wet, dark months!

1. Take our vitamins

We may find that during the winter months when the days are shorter (and darker) we feel more exhausted than usual. For this reason, vitamin D supplement is recommended through winter, as we seldom make enough naturally.

Supplements are available from supermarkets, pharmacies and even Amazon, and the NHS offer advice on vitamin D dosage. Supplements are not suitable for everyone, so check with your GP or consult the NHS advice on how to take Vitamin D safely.

A top tip

By setting an alarm we can remind ourselves to take our vitamin D supplement at a time convenient to us. It's also helpful to take them after we've had a meal. This can be after breakfast, lunch or dinner.

And if we can get outside for some winter sun, and fresh air then an added bonus.

For more top tips, see our blog on '10 reasons we may be feeling tired all the time'.

2. Get our flu jabs

One of the useful things about registering as a carer with our GP is that we can get free flu jabs and flexible medical appointments.

We all know how much harder it is to carry on providing care when we're ill ourselves - plus it's just plain horrible being ill.

Plus, if we've not had our latest dose of the Covid-19 vaccine yet, we can find out how to book one here.

3. Don't forget about our emotional health

Just as important as our physical health, is our emotional health. Bad weather, shorter days, lack of support, and so on, are making support for our emotional health of paramount importance.

We have shared many wellbeing tools, including a helpful 'daily wellbeing habits tracker', to help us to embed daily good habits. Top tip: Add your own small good habits to the tracker. Commit to one small thing daily, to support your emotional health.

Image of a google sheets, with a daily habits tracker. Includes getting outside, three things to be grateful for and connecting with family and friends

Other helpful resources also include:

4. Keep our homes safe

There are some simple things we can do, to reduce the risk of injury to ourselves over the winter months.

For example, we can get in touch with the Fire and Rescue Services who can carry out free home fire safety checks and install smoke alarms if needed.

As carers, it's also important to be aware of how health equipment and emollient creams can accelerate the spread of fires. Read more on that in our guide here.

5. Keep warm

It is recommended that homes stay at a minimum of 18 degrees celcius. Respiratory illnesses such as asthma becoming worse in colder environments so it's important to find ways to stay warm.

With energy bills rising, carers in the Mobilise community have shared their top tips for spiralling living costs, including practical ways we can stay warm and safe during the colder months.

We've also summarised the help available this winter in our guide 'Financial support for in winter for carers' which includes information on cost of living payments, warm home discounts, cold weather payments, winter fuel payments, and more.

6. Stock up on spare bulbs

With reduced daylight hours, it's helpful to make sure we have ample outside lights, especially along pathways and stairs. And to ensure we're stocked up on spare bulbs!

A few torches dotted around the house can save a whole heap of trouble in the event of a power cut.

7. Get things done without leaving the house

There are many things we can do from home (without stepping into the cold) and still stay productive.

Here are some ideas to get us thinking:

  • Can we plan ahead for the grocery shop and have this delivered to us?

  • Can we order Royal Mail postage online?

  • Can we have repeat prescriptions sent to our home, or the person we care for's home?

  • If possible, can we opt for telephone or video appointments with the GP?

Our carer's guide to getting stuff done without leaving the house has even more tips to help us stay productive from home.

8. Reach out for help from professionals

If a slip, fall or emotional meltdown does happen, don't panic. There is help for us.

Minor illnesses

Our Pharmacy can help with an array of minor illnesses. As qualified health practitioners (who train for five years in the use of medicine), our pharmacist can give clinical advice and over the counter medicines. We can find out more in this NHS guide.

Medical emergencies

GP's, NHS 111, minor injury clinics and Accident and Emergency are open for medical emergencies. Pack masks, hand sanitiser and any supplies we may need for ourselves and our cared for.

Emotional struggles

The Mobilise community are here for you. You're always welcome to join us in our online cuppas for unpaid carers where you'll find other people also in similar positions kindly offering their wisdom.

If you are in immediate crisis, you can also access:

Samaritans: Available 24 hours a day by phone

Shout: available 24 hours a day via text

Text SHOUT to 85258


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