The cold, icy winter weather can make life difficult for everyone. But for seniors, it can be life-threatening. If you are a caretaker, or child of elderly parents looking to keep them at home for as long as possible, it’s important to take extra precautions during the colder seasons. Here are some helpful tips for keeping senior citizens comfortable and safe in the winter:
Beware of slippery walkways
Falls are always a risk, but the winter can make them even more likely. The rainy and icy conditions on sidewalks and footpaths can make for hazardous walking conditions. Protect your loved ones by checking that shoes have adequate traction. Also, if walkers and canes are in use, check to make sure they have new tips with plenty of grip. Once you get back in the house, remove shoes immediately. Any water, ice or snow that clings to your shoes can make the indoors just as dangerous as the outdoors in the wintertime.
Prep Your Car for Winter Weather
People 65 and older are involved in more car accidents than those in other age groups, and wet winter weather doesn’t make things any safer. To prepare your car for the winter months, start by checking your car’s antifreeze, tires and windshield wipers, replacing anything that is out of date. Make sure you stay on top of weather reports and avoid driving during weather advisories. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, be sure to have chains in the trunk, as well as a spare tire and tire changing kit. It’s also a good idea to let people know where you’re going so they can check in on you if something goes wrong.
Everybody wants to stay warm in the wintertime, but for the elderly, staying warm can be a matter of life and death. In fact, according to the CDC, people 65 years and older are much more likely to die from hypothermia than any other age group. Make sure the souse is kept at a warm temperature at all times. And stock up on thermals, thick winter socks and plenty of warm winter clothing. It’s best to avoid going out into the cold unless necessary.
Make an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Winter storms can cause power outages, so it is important to have emergency supplies on hand. Be sure to have plenty of bottled water and non-perishable foods, as well as warm blankets, candles, flashlights, and a battery-powered radio. For more ideas about what to have on hand in case of emergency, take a look at the CDC’s winter storm checklist to make sure you’ve got everything you need.
Stock Up on Home Nursing Supplies
It is best to stay out of the cold as much as possible, so be sure that you have all of your necessary home and nursing supplies on hand before the bad weather hits. From pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to janitorial items and personal care supplies, you’ll want to make sure you are not caught by surprise if you suddenly find yourself snowed-in or otherwise unable to leave the house.
The key to winter safety for the elderly is being prepared ahead of time. Make plenty of lists and try to take care of all of your errands before any storms hit in your area. And one last tip: it’s not a bad idea to stock up on games, activities and movies. You might be stuck inside a lot of the time during the winter months, so it’s important to try to fight off the winter blues with a little bit of fun and entertainment.