The winter season brings us the holidays, but it also makes things a bit more dangerous for everyone.
Icy roads and walkways, freezing temperatures, and heavy snow all pose risks to people — but one of the most at-risk populations for injury is seniors. Follow the tips below to keep older adults safe during the winter weather.
1. Watch Out For Ice
Ice can be dangerous to anyone, but especially for seniors. A slip and fall could lead to serious injury, whether it be broken bones or lacerations.
Make sure the person you care for has shoes with non-skid soles and adequate traction to minimize slips. You should also have the same type of footwear to keep yourself safe and be able to offer help.
It’s also worth considering salting any icy areas to melt the ice away.
2. Ensure They Have the Right Winter Clothing
Colder weather can lead to frostbite or hypothermia, both of which are serious conditions. Frostbite can necessitate amputation, and hypothermia can lead to death.
Ensure the person you care for has warm clothing. That means a warm winter coat, thick gloves or mittens, a hat, warm socks, and possibly a scarf as well.
3. Get Ready For Power Outages
Heavy winds and snowfall can down power lines and lead to outages. This could mean periods of time without heating or light. Make sure seniors have flashlights and extra batteries in an accessible location. Additionally, they should have warm blankets and extra layers of warm clothing.
When the power goes out, food in the fridge can go bad, too. Having some extra nonperishable foods is vital.
4. Prepare For Potential Mental Health Issues
The cold and icy conditions of wintertime make it harder for seniors to get out of the house and talk to people. It also makes it harder for people to visit them. This can breed feelings of isolation and loneliness.
On top of that, some seniors may feel the “winter blues”, or even experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, worsening the problem.
To combat this, family members can make a regular occurrence of speaking to seniors, such as having a daily phone call or video chat. Additionally, seniors can set up a regular check-in with friends or neighbors over the phone or video.
5. Keep the Car Prepared
Getting stranded out in the cold isn’t just inconvenient; it can be dangerous for you and the person you care for. Always make sure you keep your car’s tank half-full. Check over oil, antifreeze, tires, batteries, and wipers as well to make sure everything’s ready for winter. Take your car to a professional if necessary.
Additionally, pack an emergency kit. Include the following items:
- Extra pair of gloves, mittens, hats, socks, and blankets
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Hand warmers
- Ice scraper/snow brush
- Warning triangles
- Jumper cables
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable snacks (such as trail mix or granola bars
- Bag of sand or kitty litter for traction if your vehicle gets stuck
Your loved one deserves the best care this winter to make sure they’re safe. At Angels On Call, we thoroughly screen and train each of our caregivers to make sure each one is compassionate, reliable, and knowledgeable. Contact us today to learn more.