If your loved one has mobility issues, the winter months can be a difficult. In addition to physical risks, your loved one may also suffer from isolation and depression during this time as well. However, the risks can be minimized, and the cold weather can be quite enjoyable if proper precautions are followed.
Follow these tips to help protect your aging loved ones against cold weather conditions.
During the winter months, seniors are at high risk for falls. If they use a cane, replace the rubber tip to reduce the risk of falls. To prevent walkways and driveways from freezing, be sure to clear them of standing water. If they go outdoors, be sure their shoes have grips to help prevent falls.
Reduce Fire Hazards
Winter can be a time of increased fire hazards. Dry Christmas trees, candles, and space heaters are often being used. Also, ensure flashlights, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms are in good working order. Additionally, fire extinguishers should be easily accessible in case of fires.
Stock Emergency Supplies
In the home, be sure emergency kits, including water, radio, blankets, flashlights, and batteries are within reach. If your loved one is still able to drive, ensure they have proper cold weather supplies (blankets, emergency flares, heating packs, water, and kitty litter in case they get stuck).
Check the Temperature
Because seniors are often on blood thinners, and their metabolism is slow, they can become colder easier and also have potential to become dehydrated. Walk around their home, around windows and doors, and be sure the home is properly insulated to prevent drafts. Also check that pipes are wrapped to eliminate freezing pipes.
Wear Proper Clothing
Being out in fresh air is healthy, especially during the winter months when the air is crisp and clean. However, be sure your loved one is bundled up with layered loose-fitting clothing. Since approximately half of body heat is lost through the head, wearing a winter hat will keep your loved ones much warmer. Additionally, mittens tend to keep hands warmer than gloves because fingers generate more heat when not separated by fabric.
Following the proper cold weather precautions and safety tips will help keep your elderly loved ones safe. It will also help reduce the risk of winter-related health problems. Enjoy the cold weather and stay warm!