Keeping Seniors Safe from Winter’s Elements

Keeping Seniors Safe from Winter's Elements

As the holidays closely approach it may be “Winter Wonderland” outdoors, but the season’s elements pose unique challenges to people of all ages; especially true for older adults. Everything from cold weather to slippery walkways can be dangerous, and sometimes it’s up to caregivers to take steps to help older adults stay safe.

The most significant danger facing seniors in the winter is hypothermia, as slower circulation and metabolism, make them are more susceptible. Caregivers should make a point to always have the thermostat set 65 degrees or above.   When outdoors, prevent heat loss by having them dressed in a warm hat, scarf, and mittens or gloves. Choose a good pair of winter boots for warmth and stability.  Caregivers that help senior clients with personal care should pay special to the skin, as cold outdoor conditions and dry indoor air can cause chapping and irritation.

Once the snow and ice arrive, make sure your walking surfaces are safe.  Keep entranceways and sidewalks clear of ice and snow.  If necessary, contact your local home support agency or other community services for help with snow removal, transportation and grocery bus services.  A caregiver can also bring in the mail and newspaper, and perform any other outdoor tasks that might be unsafe in slippery conditions.

A cane can help with balance; have it fitted to the right height.  When a cane is held upside down, the end should be at wrist level.  It may also be good idea to attach an ice pick at the end.  Another good idea is the use of a hip protector (a lightweight belt or pant with shields to guard the hips). It can help protect the hips against fractures and give added confidence.

Seasonal depression strikes many people during the winter, and that includes seniors.  When family members can’t be there to help elderly relatives, it’s important to have a backup. For many families, in-home care provides the extra measure of security to keep loved ones safe and comfortable, no matter what weather conditions exist.  Companionship care is crucial during most times of the year, but when the weather turns cold and the days become shorter, helping keep homebound seniors active is of the utmost importance.

With winter safety, as with most other concerns for healthy aging in place, there’s no substitute for preparation.  With just a little bit of extra attention, you can help ensure a worry-free winter for both of you.  The Canada Safety Council can offer seniors further suggestions to help stay active yet safe in winter.

Home Care Hamilton helping older adults and elderly live independently and safely at home.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 905-521-5500

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