When the temperatures go down, the health and safety risks for older adults go up. In Michigan, we can see winter temps dip below zero. Hypothermia and frostbite, slips and falls on ice, are just some of the winter hazards the elderly and their caretakers face. Synergy HomeCare of Michigan wants you to stay safe this season, so here are some tips to avoid winter dangers.
Hypothermia, a deadly drop in body temperature, is a serious danger to older people. The elderly have slower metabolisms and thus cannot produce as much body heat as younger people; also changes brought on by aging cause a decreased ability in sensing lower temperatures. Victims of hypothermia will have fatigue, cold pale skin, and abnormally slow breathing. Stay safe by keeping indoors and only going outside when necessary and for as little time as possible. Dress in layers, and stay dry to prevent chills.
Frostbite is damage to the skin caused by extreme cold. Depending on the severity, frostbite can harm muscle and bone as well. The nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes are usually affected. Severe frostbite can result in a loss of limbs. Dress warmly, and cover up as much skin as possible.
Walking can be full of dangers when the roads and sidewalks are covered in ice and snow. Avoid icy or snowy sidewalks and steps when walking. Make sure your steps and walkways are shoveled thoroughly to avoid accidents. Don't overexert yourself when shoveling; shoveling snow increases the heart rate.
Your loved one will be safe and warm all winter long with the help of a professional caregiver. Our caregivers will see to it that your loved one's living situation is in good condition. They can run small errands such as grocery shopping and mailing holiday cards so that your senior relative can rest easy in the safety of their home. Wintertime can be challenging for the elderly, but with the help of a caregiver they can enjoy the season with all of us.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Foundation for Health in Aging have lists of winter safety tips. The Centers for Disease Control provides information to stay safe in wintertime, whether indoors or out. The U.S. Fire Administration also has a variety of resources on winter fire safety.
To learn more about how caregiving services can help you take care of a loved one in need, subscribe to our blog or give us a call.