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Older people urged to take extra care this winter

14th November 2017 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in

Older people aged over 65 across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are at the heart of a new NHS Self Care campaign which encourages them to learn how to look after themselves better to stay well this winter.

The campaign, developed by the local NHS, coincides with Self Care Week and runs from Monday 13th November until Friday 17th November 2017.

The second day of the five day campaign aims to encourage older patients to learn how to look after themselves and prevent minor illnesses as well as the worsening of pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, lung and heart problems. A series of videos, factsheets and advice have been developed by partners and are online at www.staywell-llr.org.uk.

People will also be able to access general top tips a well as advice specifically for the over 65s, including:

• If you are over 65 and feel unwell this winter, seek advice as early as possible either from your GP Practice or NHS111
• People over the ages of 65 are eligible for a free flu jab from their GP Practice. Have your free flu jab and give yourself the best protection from flu this winter
• Plan ahead this winter, order prescriptions early, stock up your medicine cabinet with cough, cold and stomach upset remedies and check the weather if you plan to travel.
• Older people are more at risk of developing cold weather related illnesses, heat your home to at least 18 degrees, wear warm layers and drink hot drinks to keep warm in very cold weather.
• Avoid trips, slips and falls this winter. Wear shoes with a sole that has a good grip and spread cat litter or grit on pavements and paths outside the home.

Every year the NHS sees a huge increase in numbers of emergency admissions to hospital during the colder months. Older people are at a greater risk of developing health complications linked to the colder weather and are urged to seek early advice and plan ahead this winter to avoid unwanted health flare ups and illness.

Cold and flu as well as tummy bugs circulate more commonly in the community this time of year. As a person gets older their immune system, which fights off bugs becomes weaker, so they are at a greater risk of developing health complications as a result. Simple steps such as good hand washing, having the flu jab, keeping warm and planning ahead can all make a big difference.

Slips, trips and falls are more likely within this age group in winter too. Travel carefully in icy weather, taking extra care outside by wearing boots or shoes with a good grip on the soles, support to the ankle – wrap up warm and grit pavements and areas around the exterior of the house to avoid accidents outside.

Dr Sulaxni Nainani, GP and lead for older people at Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, speaking on behalf of the three CCGs, said: “Every winter, doctors and nurses see a big increase in the number of older and frail people who are admitted to hospital because of trips, falls, breathing problems, flu and other conditions usually worsened by cold weather.

“Older people often don’t seek advice for these conditions because they don’t think it’s serious enough and they don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Your GP practice will want to hear from you, or, if you are worried and not sure where to go call NHS 111. You will speak to a highly-trained person on the phone and they will always be more than happy to give you expert help and advice. They can arrange an appointment with your GP if they think you need one or you might just need a visit to the pharmacy for over the counter remedies.

“I would urge older people and those looking after them to seek advice while symptoms are still in the early stage and use the website and resources to ensure they have a safe and well winter. Catching the problem early often means there won’t be serious problems later.”

Patients and members of the public can find out more by visiting www.staywell-llr.org.uk and follow the campaign on social media. Search @StayWellLLR for twitter and Stay Well Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland on Facebook. There are videos containing top tips for a healthy winter from our GPs as well as factsheets and useful contacts.

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