Cold Weather Safety for Seniors

affordable home care servicesThe beauty of winter turns part beast when arctic air, icy conditions, and mounds of snow prove particularly dangerous for older adults. If you are taking care of elderly parents during winter months, we suggest these precautions:

  • Stay warm indoors. A comfortable thermostat setting in winter is 68° to 70° F. Seniors who feel chilled indoors might consider wearing thicker socks, fleece slippers, and a thin, thermal undershirt and leggings.
  • Beware of slick outdoor conditions. Outdoor fall prevention includes these tips: wear nonskid boots, get help with snow shoveling, and watch diligently for black ice. Use salt and sand to combat ice, and avoid walking on icy surfaces.
  • Wear appropriate clothing outdoors. The elderly who venture into the cold should wear light, layered, loose-fitting clothing under an insulated, waterproof winter coat. A hat and weatherproof, lined gloves or mittens are also a must.
  • Keep well-hydrated. Although the elderly may not feel as thirsty in cooler weather, drinking six to eight glasses of liquid a day is still advised.
  • Ward off isolation and depression. To beat wintertime blues in the elderly, schedule regular outings, personal visits, phone calls, and social networking. Staying connected with others helps trigger the body’s natural mood lifters including dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins.
  • Be prepared for power outages and other emergencies. Every home needs a year-round emergency preparedness kit. For a comprehensive list of what to do and not do during a power outage, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website at http://www.ready.gov/power-outage.

Other wintertime precautions for older adults include the following: stay current on immunizations, eat a balanced diet, and keep the car in top shape with good wiper blades and snow-gripping tire treads. In addition, Right at Home’s at-home caregivers can assist with everything from companion care to driving the elderly to appointments, errands, and wintertime activities. With safety steps in place, aging adults can enjoy more beauty in winter than beast.

 

Paul Blom, CEO

 

 

February 8, 2016

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