Winter is fast approaching. So, are you well prepared? What about your old parent, friend or relative, are they safe too?
Do you know older people are far more likely to die during the winter months? Ice, snow, and cold present different health problems and injuries to seniors. These may include frostbite, hypothermia, and falling.
So, how do you ensure that your elderly loved one will be safe during the winter months? It would be best if you were prepared adequately. Winter safety tips are critical to helping you be assured of the safety and overall wellbeing of your senior.
Are you wondering what are some of the winter safety tips for seniors? Worry no more. The following are some of the key winter weather safety tips for older adults.
Avoid Slipping on Ice
Do you know icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it very easy to slip and fall? It’s fun, right? Well, not for the seniors.
While you and your kids might enjoy sliding on icy, snowy walkways, it’s not what you want for elderly adults. You can recover quickly and easily from the sustained injuries. Unfortunately, this is not the same for seniors.
During the winter months, seniors are more likely to fall on icy sidewalks. Due to their body weakness can cause wrist or hip fractures, lacerations, and head trauma. To recover from such injuries and complications can be challenging.
So how should you prevent your loved one from sustaining life-threatening injuries caused by slipping on ice?
Make your seniors wear shoes with non-skid soles and high traction. These types of shoes will give them a good grip when walking on icy sidewalks or roads. Also, consider replacing their worn-out walking cane tip.
In addition, elderly people should remove their shoes when they get indoors. Shoes can have snow attached, and after melting, it creates slippery conditions indoors.
However, the best recommendation remains; have them stay indoors till the roads and sidewalks are clear.
Have you heard about hypothermia? Well, it’s a severe condition resulting from the body temperatures dipping too low. Do you know more than half of the hypothermia-related deaths occur to those above 65 years?
When you are exposed to extremely cold temperatures, your body begins losing heat rapidly. This results in hypothermia. For elderly adults, very low temperatures can cause serious health problems.
These include liver damage, heart attack, and kidney problems.
Also, note that an older adult might not be aware their body is losing a lot of heart and might get to know it when it’s too late. It’s advisable to check on the warning signs as a caregiver. These include skin ashy or pale skin, confusion and acting sleepy, general weakness, and slow heart rate or breathing.
If you think your loved one has hypothermia, seek medical assistance immediately.
As a precaution, stay indoors, keep temperatures warmer, and dress for warmth. Watch out for hypothermia and seniors!
Fight Wintertime Depression
Yes, wintertime depression exists, especially in elderly adults. Due to difficulties in moving around, seniors have limited interactions during winter. This can bring feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Seniors are exposed to many physical, mental, and emotional problems. Thus, keep in mind that you need special caring tips to take care of them.
To keep them in contact and avoid wintertime depression, take them in or find an adult daycare. Also, assist them in arranging check-in visits with friends and neighbors. Two or three people can be visiting them daily.
Check the Car
You already know driving on icy roads is perilous, don’t you? This could be worse for the seniors, especially if they don’t drive so often. Besides, their reaction time is more due to slower reflexes.
Before winter strikes, take their vehicle for winter service. Make sure the oil, wipers, and battery are all checked. It might also help to take additional precautions, such as changing tires if they are worn out.
Ensure they have an emergency contact to reach out to in case they are stuck. Also, if they have to drive, guide them through the crucial safety options for seniors that exist.
Be Ready for Power Outages
Can you imagine experiencing power outages during the winter months? What about when it’s an elderly senior? Winter storms can result in power outages, which at times could last for days.
Ensure the senior has flashlights and battery-powered radio readily accessible. Ensure an adequate supply of non-perishable foods. This can help with prolonged power outages where foods in the freezer and refrigerator might spoil.
If necessary, have an alternative source of power, such as a generator.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
While keeping warm, it’s easy to forget the dangers involved. This is especially with gas heaters, lanterns, and fireplaces. Carbon monoxide is lethal and even fatal for elderly adults.
Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless and thus hard to detect on your own. This can easily result in carbon monoxide poisoning when keeping warm. Carbon monoxide poisoning means there is not enough oxygen in the blood.
To help the senior regulate the levels of carbon monoxide, buy them a detector. If they already have one, check on batteries or whether it still works. It’s just a precaution.
Follow the Above Winter Safety Tips to Keep Seniors and Caregivers Safe
Winter poses multiple challenges for older adults. However, proper planning and awareness beforehand are critical to helping them stay healthy and safe.
With the above winter safety tips, your senior safety and health are guaranteed.
If you are in New York and looking for a caregiver, Family Always First Home Care is here to help. Through our Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), elderly seniors can select their loved ones to prioritize their needs and improve their quality of life.
Contact us today to know more about CDPAP and other caregiver programs we offer.