Winter Preparation Tips for Seniors
Wintertime brings with it several hazards that everyone should pay attention to, but for seniors, the risks are amplified due to the restrictions that aging brings. Lower temperatures bring with them a higher risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and slipping or falling on ice. All of these are real risks for the elderly, so here at Prestige Home Care Agency, we thought we’d give you some tips and advice on how to keep you or your loved one safe this winter.
1. Avoiding Hypothermia
Hypothermia occurs when your body’s core temperature drops to dangerously low levels. Signs that you are suffering from hypothermia include cold and pale skin, excessive tiredness, confusion, problems walking, slow breathing, and a low heart rate. Call 911 if you notice these symptoms in cold weather.
To protect against hypothermia, you should try to stay indoors as much as possible when the weather is cold outside, keep the indoor temperature to at least 65F, stay dry and change out of wet clothing as soon as possible, wear layers when heading into the cold, make sure you remember your hat, gloves, boots, and a scarf to place over your mouth and nose!
2. Avoiding Frostbite
Frostbite is a real problem for the elderly as older people tend to have poorer circulation than those that are younger. Frostbite happens when the temperature outside gets so cold that exposed skin, tissue, and even bone gets damaged. It’s most likely to take place on your nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. Severe cases may lead to amputations of the affected areas.
To protect against frostbite, cover all parts of your body if you’re going out in the cold. If your skin gets darker when exposed to cold temperatures and hurts, you should get inside and warm up — this is a sign that the tissue is getting damaged. If you notice this, run the affected area under warm water and call a medical professional straight away.
3. Avoiding Falls
When you’re not as young as you once were, you may overestimate the number of things you can do by yourself, but this becomes a real problem in the wintertime when driveways and sidewalks can be particularly treacherous.
Make sure you clear your driveways of snow and lay down salt to prevent ice forming. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared before the snow starts. You should always wear non-skid soled boots when walking in icy conditions, and use a cane if your balance isn’t the best.
As we age, our bodies cannot deal with the extreme changes in temperature, so be prepared for the winter is an important part of keeping safe for seniors. Using these tips, you’ll be able to avoid the most dangerous hazards that cold temperatures can bring, allowing you to enjoy all that winter has to offer! If you’d like more advice on keeping safe this winter, or would like some extra help in the long winter months, call us here at Prestige Home Care Agency now for advice and to see how we can help you.