Mother Nature can deliver quite serious winter weather in many parts of the country. While snow and ice are fine for skiing and skating, the slippery and cold conditions can also be dangerous. Elderly adults are especially challenged to stay safe and warm during serious winter weather. Family caregivers should help their elderly relatives take extra precautions to avoid accidents and mishaps associated with winter.
When elderly adults live alone, they are particularly vulnerable to the challenges that a severe winter might bring. Family caregivers can set up a schedule with other family members, a home care agency, neighbors, and senior services to help out at the elderly person’s home on a regular basis.
There are many ways that family caregivers can help seniors stay safe in the winter by preparing ahead of any bad weather. At their home, caregivers should make sure that everything about the heating system is working, including a new furnace filter. Other things to check include the fireplace, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and portable heaters. Vents should not be blocked off and there should be at least three feet of cleared area around all space heaters.
Winter weather can wreak havoc on power lines and cause blackouts. The elderly adult should also have some supplies on hand in the event of a power outage. This could include flashlights, batteries, candles, and lanterns. The elderly person should also have at least three days’ worth of food that doesn’t require cooking. In the event of an emergency, there should be a network of people that the elderly person can call on to help.
Dress for the Weather.
Whenever an elderly man or woman goes outside during the winter, it’s important that they dress appropriately. Because seniors have a harder time controlling their body temperature, they should dress in warm layers topped off with a good winter coat. Hats, gloves, scarves, and non-slip shoes are also important. If the elderly person uses a walker or cane, family caregivers should ensure that there are new non-skid rubber caps on the ends to prevent a slip and fall accident.
Ice and snow are the worst dangers for elderly people when they go out and even a shoveled walk can cause them to injure themselves in a fall. However, if they can minimize the time they go out each day to do small tasks, they can avoid the dangerous and icy paths. Family caregivers can make arrangements with home care aides, neighbors, congregation members and friends to do things like bring the garbage can in and out, shovel the walk and driveway, get the mail, and walk the dog.
Winter isolation is another danger for elderly people, not so much physically but mentally. It’s easy for them to avoid interacting with people regularly due to decreased mobility, driving conditions, and more. Family caregivers can make arrangements for friends, family, and home care aides to drive the elderly adult to church, the senior citizen center, and other community events so they can get out and about as needed. The winter holiday season is ideal for activities, parties, performances, and simple family gatherings and elderly adults can certainly participate.
It doesn’t take much to prepare an elderly person’s home for the winter, nor does it require much time or effort from the family caregiver to ensure their aging relative stays happy and healthy in cold weather.
If you or someone you know needs home care in Rochester, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.
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