Southern Health provides top tips to prevent falls, stay safe and warm this Christmas

22 December 2022

couple drinking hot beverage, forest, cold.jpgTrust provides top tips to prevent falls, stay safe and warm this Christmas

The NHS is under intense pressure this winter so it is even more vital than ever to remain well and avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital. However this can be difficult to achieve, cold snaps that create icy conditions combined with seasonal bugs, flu and COVID can all add up and take their toll.

During this winter season, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging people to stay safe, warm by providing tips to avoid slips, trips and falls as well as practical advice for staying warm and mentally resilient.

Dr Jane Hazlegrove, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Medical Said: “It is really important to stay physically and mentally well over the winter period but we know this can be difficult for lots of people. The cost of living crisis and winter months mean that people are more susceptible to the cold and various illnesses – including COVID which is on the rise again.  With the ongoing pressures facing the NHS it is really important that we take simple steps to remain safe and well, ensuring care is available to patients who need it most.

One in three people over the age of 65 fall each year but dark and icy conditions affect all of us. The following tips can help reduce your risk of falling.

Reduce your risk of falling

  • Plan ahead; give yourself sufficient time and plan your route to avoid areas where you know there might be ice
  • Early mornings and late afternoons can be darker and may be icy – try to avoid those times to go out
  • Wrap up warmly and wear well-fitting shoes that provide good support and grip
  • If you are going shopping, consider putting your purchases in a small rucksack on your back, instead of carrying bags in your hands. This helps you to keep both hands free for balance.

Whilst those over 65 or with pre existing health complications are most at risk, the winter weather affects all of us with statistics showing that work absence doubles during the winter months. Keeping warm is a key part of staying well and the following tips might help you stay warm in your home.

Keeping warm indoors

  • Do what you can to keep your home warm. Use draught proofing or draught excluders to seal any gaps around windows and doors. Draw your curtains at dusk and tuck behind radiators to help keep heat inside and make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.
  • Try not to sit still for more than an hour. Get up and stretch your legs, even if just to put the washing on or make a cup of tea. It all helps to keep you warm
  • If you are struggling to heat your home there are warm spaces across Hampshire that are open. This includes Hampshire’s libraries which are open to anyone looking for a warm, welcoming space to connect with others, work, or study.

In the UK, 41% of people find the winter has a negative impact on their mental health. Looking after our mental health during this time is key as it helps keep us  resilient to deal with the challenges in these difficult times.

Staying mentally well

  • Get a good nights sleep. The festive period can be exhausting, both physically and mentally - getting good-quality sleep is so important for our mental health and can make a big difference to how we feel.
  • Try to avoid constant negative news. There is a lot going on at moment and it is so easy to only see negative stories which can impact how we think and feel. ‘Doom scrolling’ – the act of constantly scrolling through negative news stories – can have a significant impact on our mental health.
  • Connecting with others is important for our mental health and can help us to feel better even when we don’t feel like socialising. There are lots of different ways to do this whether it’s in person, online or over the phone and the festive period provides plenty of opportunities for this that might not appear at other times in the year.

The above tips will help you avoid a fall, stay warm and keep well over winter. You might be tempted to put off asking for help due to the current news around pressures and strikes, however, you should always reach out if you need support or feel unwell. Help and advice is available through a number of different services including your local pharmacists, NHS 111, GP services as well as same day urgent treatment centres (UTCs).

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