Winter enhances severe hazards for our elderly loved ones - icy driveways and slippery sidewalks increase the potential for devastating falls, cold temperatures encourage elders to drink more warm teas and coffees resulting in a greater risk for dehydration, and dreary days increase the risk of developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, or winter depression).
Follow this safety checklist to help you and your senior parent combat the dangers of the winter season.
- Avoid dehydration. Dehydration among elders increases during the winter because people generally drink less water in cold weather. The body’s ability to conserve water reduces with age, and thirst senses become less acute. Elderly people tend to eat less, and sometimes may forget to eat or drink altogether. Disability or neglect also may prevent them from being well nourished. In order to avoid dehydration, encourage your elderly loved one to:
- Eliminate or reduce dehydrating beverages such as caffeinated tea, coffee, and soft drinks
- Drink between six to eight glasses of water daily
- Eat fruits and vegetables - most have high water content
- Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year, according to Mayo Clinic (symptoms commonly start in the fall and continue into the winter months, draining energy and increasing moodiness). Winter-onset SAD symptoms include:
- Depression, hopelessness, and anxiety
- Loss of energy
- Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
- Social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Oversleeping, appetite changes, and weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
In order to avoid SAD, consider following or encouraging these Mayo Clinic lifestyle and home remedy tips:
- Make your or your parent’s environment sunnier and brighter. Open blinds, trim tree branches that block sunlight, or add skylights to the home. Sit closer to bright windows while at home or in the office.
- Get outside. Take a long walk, eat lunch at a nearby park, or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help - especially if you or your senior parent spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning.
- Exercise regularly. Physical exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can increase SAD symptoms. Being more fit can make you or your loved one feel more happy and confident.
- Prevent falls: Help yourself or your loved one stay independent and reduce chances of falling by following these Centers for Disease Prevention and Control tips:
- Exercise regularly. Encourage exercises that focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, such as Tai Chi.
- Ask your or your parent’s doctor or pharmacist to review prescribed medications to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
- Have your and your loved one’s eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.
- Make homes safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding railings on both sides of stairways, and improving lighting.
To lower hip fracture risk, older adults should get adequate calcium and vitamin D from food and/or from supplements, exercise, and get screened and, if needed, treated for osteoporosis.
Does this list appear daunting or unattainable for you or your loved one to manage? If so, consider hiring a Synergy HomeCare Corona/Riverside caregiver so that your loved one stays healthy and safe this winter.
SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are trained to offer a wide variety of services to fit your and your senior parent’s needs, including:
- Scheduling appointments and social activities
- Nutritious meal planning, preparation, and cleanup
- Active thinking and memory care
- Safety and medication reminders
- Standby assistance with morning and evening routines
- Assistance with mealtime feeding and restroom use
- Friendly conversation and emotional support
- Light housekeeping and running errands
- Laundry, ironing, and changing linens
- Light exercise, light gardening, and transportation
- Transfer to and from bed, wheelchair, etc.
- Help with bathing, dressing, and grooming
Stay safe, stable, and happy this winter - call SYNERGY HomeCare Corona/Riverside. We can tailor our services to meet your needs.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected] .