The winter season is full of such an abundance of beauty: shimmering icicles, powdery white snow, warm, inviting fires. But it’s also often laden with potential risks, especially for seniors. Grace Home Care wants to help you keep your older loved ones safe this winter with the following suggestions:
- Prevent hypothermia. When the temperature outside falls, our body temperature can quickly drop as well – and even more rapidly for older adults. Seniors should restrict time outdoors during the course of the winter, and wear layers of loose-fitting clothing and appropriate outerwear such as gloves, a heavy winter coat, boots, scarf and hat when venturing out. If your senior loved one shows the red flags of hypothermia (pale, cold skin, lethargy and confusion, weakness, slowed breathing and/or heart rate, problems with walking) call 911 immediately for assistance.
- Prevent falls. Ice-covered walkways are, naturally, unsafe, but falls are also a risk when coming back inside with snow-clad boots or shoes. Ensure pathways and stairs are clear and dry and that older adults wear sturdy, slip-resistant boots when outside (and that they are taken off at the entranceway when arriving back at home). There are also devices available for walkers and canes that provide additional traction for walking outdoors, which are safer than ordinary rubber tips.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. While they’re certainly cozy, fireplaces and wood stoves, as well as gas-powered appliances, can leak carbon monoxide if not properly vented. Ensure a working carbon monoxide detector is strategically placed in the senior’s home, and get immediate medical assistance if any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are observed: weakness, vomiting/nausea, headache, confusion, dizziness, unclear vision, or loss of consciousness. And ensure chimneys and flues are cleaned and inspected by a professional at least annually.
- Prevent driving accidents. Adults age 65 and above are at elevated risk for vehicle accidents, and even more so in unsafe driving conditions. One option to increase safety when caring for older parents is to partner with Grace Home Care’s professional home care staff, who are always on hand to offer safe, accompanied transportation, or to run errands for seniors.
For more recommendations to help keep older individuals safe this winter season, and throughout the year, call our elder care experts. We offer a free in-home safety assessment to make sure the home environment is as safe as possible, and can also recommend and coordinate any needed home modifications, as well as a full range of customized senior care in Topeka for seniors. Call us at 785.286.CARE to learn more about how we can help when caring for older parents!