As fall colors give way to wind and snow, it’s a good idea for family caregivers to think about all the ways that cold weather negatively affects their elderly relative. Seniors are particularly at risk for a number of accidents, illnesses and even death for weather-related conditions inside and outside the home. Fortunately, with some preparation, family caregivers can meet winter challenges head-on and ensure their safety and health.
Many seniors depend on others to help with their daily care, such as family members and home care providers. Because they are physically limited and unable to complete those daily tasks to care for themselves and their home, they need home care providers and family members to do much of the preparation for cold weather. Family caregivers that hire home care providers can have peace of mind knowing their elderly loved one is safe and comfortable all winter.
Here are 10 ways that family caregivers and home care providers can ensure cold weather safety for elderly adults:
- Dress in warm layers when indoors so seniors can adjust to the temperature and feel comfortable. Include articles of clothing for the elderly adult’s extremities, such as socks, hat and fingerless gloves, as needed.
- Avoid slip and fall accidents on icy and snowy surfaces by putting solid shoes on an elderly person’s feet. They should be snug around the foot and have non-skid soles.
- Keep sidewalks and driveways shoveled and salted to eliminate large ice patches and slippery spots. If the weather harsh and outside conditions are simply too treacherous, the elderly person should stay indoors.
- Replace worn rubber tips on walkers and canes with new slip-proof ones that are thick and well-fitting. Even new tips won’t prevent slip and fall accidents on thick ice, however.
- Don’t track ice and snow indoors by using large doormats at entrance/exit doors and remove shoes when entering the house to avoid tracking moisture around.
- When outdoors, make sure the elderly person’s exposed skin is covered with a scarf, hat and gloves. Aging adults can develop frostbite and hypothermia more quickly than younger adults.
- Prepare an emergency kit with a flashlight, non-perishable food, batter-powered radio, bottled water, blankets and more in the event of a power outage.
- Put fresh batteries in the carbon monoxide detectors and test them before the winter season.
- Schedule a flu shot for the elderly adult, to boost their immune system and help them better resist influenza.
- Maintain a warm indoor temperature by setting the thermostat properly and winterize the house by closing vents in unused rooms, blocking drafts and use safe space heaters.
With age, elderly relatives face a real risk of injury, illness or even death as a result of cold winter weather. With a good support group looking out for their welfare, such as family members, neighbors, friends, clergy and home care providers, aging adults can remain unharmed from the conditions.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in Huntley, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 406-839-2390.