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How to help your elderly relative prepare for colder months


We all understand that the colder months are particularly hard, especially if you’re elderly and live away from family. However, with a little preparation and some time spent with your family members, this shouldn’t be a problem.


That’s why this month we’ve created a list of ways you can help you elderly relative prepare for the colder months of the year.


Check the stopcock

In the colder months, the water in pipes can freeze, especially if the central heating hasn’t been running for a while. Make sure that your elderly relative knows whether the stopcock is located in the event a pipe bursts.

Get them to check to see if they can twist it all the way around, and if not make sure it’s loose enough that they can.

Keep a mixture of salt and sand handy

As we all know, navigating the icy patches on pavements and roads can be a nightmare at the best of times, especially if you have to travel up or downhill.

When the temperatures start to drop, make sure that your elderly relative has a mixture of salt and sand ready for when surfaces become harder to navigate than normal.

Make sure that they have a way to spread this mixture, ideally a small spade or a trowel.

Arrange a boiler service

If their boiler has recently been serviced, then you don’t have to worry. However, if it’s been a while and you’re feeling worried about it breaking down during the winter months, then arrange to have a boiler service carried out in their home.

It’s worth getting this done sooner rather than later, due to the fact that in the run-up to winter, boiler engineers do get very busy. If it sets your mind at ease, why not organise the service for when you’re available too, just to make sure that unnecessary work doesn’t take place.

Check their car

As the roads become icier and the days get darker earlier, now’s the time to give their car a thorough check to make sure everything’s working as it should. These checks should include:

  • Engine checks, including anti-freeze levels, oil levels and screen wash
  • Battery checks, including testing it for power levels
  • Interior and exterior light checks
  • Winter tyres if they’re planning to drive a lot
  • Check their breakdown cover
  • Carry a winter car breakdown kit, including a torch, blankets, food and drink supplies

Check or install a carbon monoxide detector

Using a fireplace, a gas heater or a portable lantern can all lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, especially if they’re used in rooms with little ventilation. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed at least 150mm from the ceiling if fitted on the wall.

If they’re being installed in areas where your elderly relative will sleep, then they should be located relatively near to them. For example, if they have an electric fire in their bedroom, then make sure it’s installed near the headboard of their bed.

Stock up on non-perishables

Now, this might seem like we’re planning for the end of the world, but if we do get a particularly cold winter and your elderly relative is unable to make it to the shop, then it’s important that they still have food in the house.

Make sure that they have enough canned goods that they’re able to eat for a week or so. Make sure that they have bottled water and a variety of foods so they don’t lose out on the energy they need to get motivated.

Keep a torch and spare batteries handy

If there is a power cut, even for a short period of time, it’s worth making sure that your relative has a torch and spare batteries ready and within easy reach. If they have a mobile phone, then make sure that this is fully charged too.

If there is a power outage, then they’ll be able to call 105 for free. This will connect them to the local network provider who will give them advice and help on what to do next.


So there we have it, our top ways to help elderly relatives prepare for the colder months. What do you think? Are there any ways you can recommend that we haven’t mentioned?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so get in touch with us on Facebook here or on Twitter here, and share your own experiences. You never know what new connections you might make.

However, if you’re interested in finding out more about how Care Quest can help you, then please do get in touch with us here. We’d be more than happy to talk through all available options.

@ Care Quest