Winter can be a magical season, with its serene snowfall and the cozy charm of the holidays. However, it can also bring about unique challenges, especially for seniors. As temperatures drop, you have to make some accommodations to protect your senior loved ones from the weather.
In this blog, we will discuss various strategies and precautions that you can use in keeping your senior loved ones and healthy during the coldest months of the year.
1. Get winter tires.
One of the primary concerns during winter is transportation, and winter tires can keep your loved ones safe as they drive.
These tires are designed to improve these things in snow, ice and cold pavement conditions:
- Braking capabilities
Since winter tires have special rubber compounds and tread designs, they’re a necessary investment for seniors to maintain their mobility and independence safely.
2. Dress warmly when you go outside.
Exposure to cold weather can lead to hypothermia and frostbite, particularly in older adults whose bodies may not regulate temperature as efficiently.
When heading outdoors, it’s recommended for your senior loved ones to wear loose-fitting and lightweight clothes layered for insulation.
Other must-haves to protect against the cold and prevent body heat from escaping include:
- Warm coat
- Water-resistant boots
3. Wear snow and ice traction cleats.
A simple slip on the ice can have severe consequences for seniors, including broken bones and other injuries. To avoid falls, one of the essential winter safety tips is to wear snow and ice traction cleats. These can be attached to shoes and boots to provide extra grip when walking on icy surfaces.
4. Don’t drive during snowy or icy conditions.
Another crucial winter safety tip is to avoid driving during snowy or icy conditions if possible. See to it that your senior loved ones are planning their activities and appointments around the weather forecast and are staying indoors when conditions are hazardous.
If driving cannot be avoided, drive slowly and allot plenty of time to reach the destination safely.
5. Eat a well-balanced diet.
Winter can make it more difficult for seniors to get out and shop for groceries, and this can affect their diet. A well-balanced diet with protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains strengthens their body during this cold season.
If getting to the store is a challenge, consider getting grocery delivery services for your senior loved ones or asking a family member for assistance.
6. Make sure that electric space heaters are being used safely.
Space heaters can be a great source of additional warmth, but they come with safety risks. To prevent fires, place space heaters on a stable and level surface away from flammable materials like curtains or furniture.
Never leave a space heater on when leaving the room or going to sleep, and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
7. Schedule deliveries to avoid the cold.
Minimizing exposure to the cold is important for everyone, not just seniors. One way to do this is by scheduling home deliveries for groceries, medications and other necessities. Many stores offer subscription services or scheduled deliveries, which can be a convenient and safe option for your senior loved ones to have all they need without venturing out into the cold.
8. Stay safe on the road.
For seniors who continue to drive, road safety during winter includes regular maintenance check to keep the car in good working condition.
All these parts should be inspected to see to it that they’re winter-ready:
- Antifreeze levels
Always have an emergency kit in the car that includes blankets, a flashlight, a first-aid kit and some non-perishable snacks.
9. Get vaccinated with the flu shot.
Winter is flu season, and seniors are at a higher risk of complications from the flu.
Getting vaccinated with the flu shot is one of the safest ways to protect your loved ones against the flu virus, which can be especially dangerous for older adults.
10. Have your driveway and walkway cleaned.
Snow and ice accumulation on driveways and walkways can be dangerous for seniors. For their safety, arrange for a service or a helping hand to keep these areas clear and prevent unnecessary injuries.
11. Make sure you check up on your loved ones.
To avoid feelings of isolation, which can be more prominent during the cold winter months, see to it that your friends and family members are checking up on your elderly loved ones regularly. This can be as simple as a daily phone call or arranging a check-in schedule with neighbors.
12. Get a carbon monoxide alarm.
The increased use of heating appliances in the winter also increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Install carbon monoxide alarms in your senior loved ones’ homes to detect any dangerous levels of this odorless and colorless gas.
13. Keep a flashlight handy and avoid candles.
Power outages can be more common during winter storms. For safety, keep flashlights and extra batteries in your senior loved ones’ homes. Using candles can pose a fire risk, especially if they fall asleep or forget to blow them out, so they should be avoided as a light source during power outages.
Winter doesn’t have to be a time of concern for seniors or their families. By following these winter safety tips for seniors, your elderly loved ones can stay warm, healthy and safe while enjoying the season’s joy.