Winter Safety Precautions for Seniors
We have entered the “winter season”. Gone are the holidays, decorations, and family visits. Now we have cold, frost, shorter daylight hours, and possibly snow.
For many seniors, winter means weeks and months of cold weather, black ice, and piles of snow. It is not as easy to get fresh air, or to walk the neighborhood. Colder temperatures can present safety challenges, especially for older adults.
While many in the northeast are enjoying seasonally temperate weather, it is important to be aware of seasonal hazards brought on by normal cold, winter weather:
Hypothermia. Exposure to cold may result in a dangerous drop in body temperature. Common health conditions and some medications increase the health risks for seniors. Educate yourself and your loved ones about the symptoms of hypothermia.
Increased risk of falls. Slipping on icy steps or a snowy walkway can result in serious injury. Footing can be extremely treacherous. And a broken bone can mean spending time in the hospital and rehabilitation centers.
Carbon monoxide illness or fire from improperly used space heaters or generators. These devices can be dangerous when incorrectly installed and operated. I just had a space heater spark and burn a small hole in a rug in my home!
Seasonal depression. Many seniors become completely housebound. They never leave their home unless escorted to doctor appointments. Inactivity and isolation may result when cold weather means fewer opportunities for exercise and social contact.
If your elderly parents live in a climate where winter storms and cold weather occur, take steps to keep them safe. Help to winterize their home, check heating systems and help them prepare for weather-related emergencies. If elderly parents drive, be sure to prepare an emergency kit for the car. Remind them to run their errands in daylight.
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 and family safe and comfortable – in any season. Call us to find out more!
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164