Preparing Seniors for Cold Weather
The winter season is right around the corner – with this comes inclement cold weather conditions that can disrupt daily life, especially for seniors. Depending on where you live, it could be only a matter of a few weeks until you start experiencing full-on winter weather, including very low temperatures, snow, and ice. These weather conditions could be a major hazard for you, your elderly loved ones, and their care providers and could cause a number of issues when it comes to getting the level of care, assistance and support they need.
Seniors especially should be cautious of the dangers during winter months because of the restrictions that aging brings. With lower temperatures comes risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and falls on icy surfaces. As a caregiver, it is your responsibility to ensure the adequate preparation is made for the challenges that seniors will face in the the cold winter weather.
Staying warm is crucial during the winter months, but that can be troublesome when the temperature outside plummets. Staying inside in the warmth is recommended whenever possible. If seniors must leave the house in winter weather, outer garments such as hats, gloves, jackets, and scarves help to keep body temperature up and provide overall better temperature control.
Risk of hypothermia or frostbite increases substantially during winter months. Hypothermia occurs when the core temperature of your body drops severely. Signs that you are suffering from hypothermia include cold and pale skin, excessive tiredness, problems walking, confusion, slow breathing, and a low heart rate. Frostbite happens when the temperature outside gets so low that any exposed skin, tissue, and even bone gets damaged. It’s most likely to take place on your nose, ears, chin, cheeks, fingers, and toes.
Even a thin layer of ice on a sidewalk or driveway can be extremely dangerous for seniors who have mobility issues or balance problems. A slip on the ice can lead to devastating injuries with lingering negative effects for your seniors. Stock up on surface de-icing products that will melt ice if it forms and prevent further ice from forming. For getting rid of heaps of snow, contact your local snow removal company to find out their snow plowing schedule or even arrange for neighbors, friends, or family members to shovel your driveway and sidewalk for you.
Safety Inside the Home
Safety inside the home can be just as crucial as outdoor winter safety. Decrease the risk of accidents without a caregiver present by double-checking the home and making it as safe as possible. Additionally, ensure your senior loved one is stocked up on the necessities – water, food, batteries, blankets, medicine and any other emergency materials that will benefit them in case of extended inclement weather.
Establishing relationships with surrounding neighbors can ensure that someone is there for your senior when you cannot be due to weather. Simply having a trusted neighbor checking in with the senior can provide peace of mind to you and ensure safety of the elder when caregivers are unable to travel to the location due to wintery conditions.
If you are looking for help prepping your senior loved one for the cold winter weather ahead, call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions at either our Cherry Hill office at (856) 321-1500 OR our Red Bank office at (732) 820-9611.