When temperatures dip below freezing, seniors are at especially high risk for injuries and other health problems including frostbite, hypothermia, and falls due to ice and snow. Prevention is key, but knowing how to treat potential problems should they occur can mean the difference between life and death.
Cold temperatures put seniors at risk for developing frostbite and hypothermia. Since we tend to produce less body heat as we get older, it’s imperative to dress appropriately. When venturing out, make sure your senior loved one wears two to three thin layers in addition to a hat, scarf, and gloves as not to expose skin to freezing temperatures.
Icy roads and snow-covered sidewalks make it far too easy to slip and fall. Unfortunately, falls are a common source of injury for senior citizens resulting in hip fractures or head trauma. Be diligent and ensure your loved one wears shoes with non-skid soles when going outside in extreme conditions. If possible, he or she should avoid going out until the streets and sidewalks have been cleared. Once inside, shoes should be removed immediately so ice and snow aren’t brought into the home, which can pose a threat once it melts.
Keep Up on Car Maintenance
Driving during the winter months can be dangerous for everyone, but even more so for senior citizens if their reflexes aren’t as quick as they used to be. Get the car serviced before cold weather hits to ensure the battery and tires are ready for winter. Caledon senior care agencies also recommend keeping an emergency kit in the backseat in the event your loved one has an accident. You should include a blanket, flashlight, flares, and a bottle of water.
Prepare for a Power Outage
Be prepared for a possible outage due to heavy snow and ice on power lines. Have extra clothing, blankets, bottles of water, flashlights and non-perishable food easily accessible. It’s also a good idea to invest in a battery-powered mobile phone charger so your elderly loved one can recharge his or her phone if needed. Keep a list of emergency contact numbers on the refrigerator so your loved one or his or her respite caregiver won’t have to hunt for them in the dark.
Take your senior loved one’s safety a step further by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. Our professional caregivers can provide safety monitoring, mobility support, medication reminders, and help your senior loved one stay safe all year long. To learn more about our care services, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care for seniors in Caledon, give us a call at 905-951-8885 and request a free in-home consultation.