A fresh fall of glimmering white snow is beautiful to look at, but it can also be dangerous. Each year, people injure themselves or suffer heart attacks while shoveling snow. The task of shoveling may fall on you as a family caregiver or, perhaps your dad still clears his own walk. If you’re concerned about your dad’s safety this winter, here are some tips to prevent injury or heart attack while shoveling.
Before shoveling, your dad should do some stretching or other movement to help warm up the muscles and heart. This will help the body to work more efficiently and prevent muscle injuries. Also, it’s a bad idea to eat a big meal before shoveling. Doing so can divert blood from the heart to the digestive system. Also, if your dad smokes, remind him not to do so within an hour of smoking because it causes his blood pressure to go up and increases the heart rate.
Remind your dad that he should take frequent breaks while shoveling to prevent stressing the heart. If he feels tired or overly winded, it might be best to put the shovel away for a while and go back to the task later.
Hypothermia, a dangerous lowering of body temperature, is also a concern. Your dad should dress warmly in layers of clothing. He should also wear a hat and gloves to prevent frostbite.
Snow is slippery, and falls can result in injuries. Make sure your dad has a good pair of winter boots with adequate traction.
Practice Good Technique
Experts say it’s better to push snow than it is to lift it. This is especially true when the snow is wet and heavy. Shovels of snow should be lifted in the same manner one would lift a heavy box, with the back straight and knees bent. Avoid twisting, too, since that could cause a back injury.
If the snowfall is expected to be heavy, shoveling every few inches is better than waiting until the snow is several inches deep. This can keep ice from building up on the sidewalk and makes the actual shoveling task lighter.
Family caregivers who are concerned about their parent’s shoveling snow this winter would be wise to hire a snow removal company. However, if your dad refuses to allow for snow removal, it can also be useful to hire home care. Home care providers can assist your dad to remove the snow or monitor him while he shovels to help keep him safe.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Coal Creek, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare West Denver. Call today: (720) 263-6060.