Ice, snow, and extreme temperatures can pose safety hazards for your elderly loved ones. Falls are especially common during winter months, as is seasonal depression. Learn more about winter senior care and safety in the guide below.
How to Keep Seniors Safe in Winter
1. Preventing Falls
Ice can increase the risk for slips and falls, which may keep active seniors indoors and limit exercise. To prevent falls, encourage your loved ones to wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles. When they return inside, they should remove the shoes to avoid melting snow and ice puddling on the floor and creating a slip hazard.
Have a place for seniors to sit near the door and a container for indoor shoes nearby. Ensure that sidewalks and steps are shoveled regularly and use ice-melt, rock salt, or kitty litter around entryways and the driveway to minimize slippery conditions.
2. Keeping Warm
The CDC reports that half of hypothermia-related deaths are in persons 65 or older. Older adults do not retain body heat or regain it as quickly as younger people. Make sure that your senior loved ones have adequate coats, scarves, gloves, hats, and sweaters to wear when they go out.
Keep indoor temperatures in a comfortable 70- to 75-degree range. Avoid going outdoors with elders in very low temperatures unless necessary. Keep the home stocked with blankets in case the power goes out for several hours, and heating isn’t available.
3. Preparing for Power Outages
In addition to extra blankets, make sure seniors living on their own have non-perishable food, flashlights, extra batteries, and an auxiliary, battery-powered phone charger available in case of a power outage.
Run through a routine with them so they know how to stay warm and where the supplies are located. If you rely on senior care assistance to check on loved ones, confirm if they offer services during extreme weather and make sure you have all emergency contact information for the service.
4. Watching for Seasonal Depression
Seniors living on their own may become isolated during bad weather if they are unable to leave the home. Lack of vitamin D and seasonal melancholy can turn into more serious depression.
Step up the frequency of visits to loved ones in the winter, or contract with senior care agencies to provide companionship and assistance. Try to see that loved ones get quality, varied nutrition and have indoor exercise options to keep health optimal and spirits high.
For senior care in the Medina and Southern Cuyahoga County, OH, area, call Visiting Angels. Their caregivers are compassionate companions trained to assist your loved ones with their life care needs. They can help with meal prep, dementia care, medication assistance, and light shopping. Call (330) 723-0300 to schedule a consultation or visit their website to see a full range of services.