As the weather cools, the sun goes into hiding and the days get shorter, it can be harder to leave the comfort of your cosy home. But getting out is just as important in the colder months; even more so if you’re prone to seasonal affective disorder (fittingly called SAD), which is a type of depression.
Here are some hacks to get you to leave your home without sacrificing on comfort.
When it can feel like four seasons in one day, it’s important to layer up your clothes when you go out. If the air is chilly, keep your neck and head warm with a scarf and hat, and wear closed shoes and pack a brolly in case it rains. Even with cool weather it’s important to stay hydrated, so always take a bottle of water with you on your travels.
Get your flu shot
The colder weather is unfortunately synonymous with colds and flu, so make sure you’re up to date with your flu shot. You’re at greater risk of complications from the flu if you’re over 65, which is why it’s important to visit your doctor to be immunised. Happily, it is also free for Australian's over 65.
Make the most of your Seniors Card
There are so many social benefits to having a Seniors Card—have you made the most of them? You receive discounts at businesses across the state, so why not embark on a shopping trip. To find the discounts near you, you can search on your state’s Seniors Card website (such as www.seniorscard.nsw.gov.au). Or if you’re more tempted to camp under the stars (bring your woollies and thermos though!), check out the Australian Camps Association. Partnered with Victoria’s Seniors Card, the association is working with organisations to specifically cater for the over 60s.
Use your Home Care Package
Advising to layer up and get outside, or using your Seniors Card to access discounts to events is all good and well but what if your mobility has you a little concerned or you don't drive or live near public transport? Don't think you have someone to go with?
Did you know, you’re able to draw on the money within your Home Care Package for transport as well as equipment such as walkers to assist you when you’re out and about. Having a walker can give you more confidence to leave the home, especially if it’s been raining and the footpath is slippery. It also gives you one on one companion care- some one to head out with to the places you would like to go. A person trained in mobility assistance or even just to assist in transport to your activity. If you haven't yet looked into some in home assistance, read about it here.
Utilise travel discounts
In Victoria for example, having a Seniors Card will enable you to save 50% off full fare travel tickets and get concession fares on country services. You’ll also be sent a couple of travel vouchers to use across Victoria, and if you’re travelling within the two main zones in Melbourne on a weekend, you won’t have to pay anything. Make the most of the free travel available to you and visit family or friends by public transport. You might even want to go somewhere you’ve never been before, like a country town. Sometimes the journey can be just as much fun as getting to the destination! You don’t have to go alone either, as carers travel free with a companion card.
Look into community transport
As well as the local trains, buses or trams, there’s often community transport that you can use. Most councils have a community bus service available for eligible residents, which is a great option if regular public transport isn’t feasible. This service needs to be booked and there can be a waiting list, so contact your council to get a spot. Catching this form of transport is a great way to get to your local hot spots and socialise with other members of your community along the way.
Book an uberASSIST
If you’re wanting to be driven around, uberASSIST is a good option, as this service is tailored to seniors and people with disabilities. These vehicles have room to store your walker, wheelchair or collapsible scooter, and while there’s no lift or wheelchair ramp, the driver can help you into the car. To book an uberASSIST you’ll need to sign up on their website, if it seems a bit complicated at first a friend, family member or carer can show you how.