Cold weather, ice, freezing wind, and snow are especially hard on seniors. Winter weather poses a number of risks to older adults including hypothermia, falls, home fires, and driving accidents due to poor road conditions. The following tips from Home Care Assistance Annapolis can help your elderly loved one stay safe and happy throughout the season.
Wear Extra Layers
Seniors are at a higher risk of hypothermia due to a slower metabolism that results in lower body heat. Older people are also at risk of hypothermia because their bodies may not respond properly to the cold due to illnesses like diabetes. Seniors should always wear extra layers of loose clothing to trap warm air and retain body heat. A hat is especially important because most body heat is lost through the head.
Prevent Falls on Slippery Walkways
Walkways and steps around the home should always be kept free of snow and ice. If seniors and caregivers are not able to safely clear walkways, ask a neighbor or hire someone to regularly clear the sidewalks, driveway, and walking paths. Remove shoes immediately after coming indoors to avoid tracking in snow and ice that will melt and create a slip hazard indoors.
Wear Proper Footwear
Seniors should wear correct footwear for the weather, such as boots or shoes that have good traction on the soles and heels. Shoes that utilize anti-skid materials can also significantly reduce the risk of falls indoors and outside on the slippery winter ground.
Have an Emergency Plan
Winter storms can easily lead to power outages. Seniors should be prepared with easy access to emergency supplies like a battery-powered radio, flashlights, warm blankets, warm clothing, dry food, bottled water, and canned food. Make sure neighbors or friends are willing to check in regularly during a storm if your loved one’s hourly or live-in caregiver is unavailable.
Prevent Fires and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Home fires are a leading cause of death among seniors during the winter season. Most home fires during the winter are the result of unsafe usage of space heaters. Never use a space heater in the bathroom, and keep curtains, blankets, and clothing away from space heaters. Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have been tested recently. Synthetic fireplace logs should be used according to the directions and never broken into pieces as this will increase the amount of carbon monoxide in the home.
You can take your senior loved one’s safety a step further this winter with help from Home Care Assistance. We offer live-in, hourly, and respite care in Annapolis, ensuring seniors have the support needed to remain safe, happy, and healthy in the comfort of home. To learn more, please call 443-302-2771 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.