December 31, 2021
Reading Time 7 min.

5 Safety Tips to Follow for Senior Care in Winter

Today, we’re sharing safety tips for seniors aging in place. 

Winter is harsh for our aging parents. They get sick quickly, and the risks of falling are higher. 

So what can you do as a caregiver, and how can you help keep them safe at home?

Let’s get on with these safety tips, then!

Common challenges for seniors during winter 

When the temperature drops, seniors are more likely to get sick or hurt because of the weather. 

While, winter has been very mild so far this year, we know that the cold is coming.

Of course, many things in life are better when you prepare. 

So let’s look at some of the precautions for everyone to take, especially the elderly, during the winter season.

Hypothermia

Because older people’s metabolisms are slower, they create less body heat than younger individuals. 

With that, it’s also more difficult for seniors to tell when the temperature is too low because the body changes as we age. 

It can be harmful because your body loses heat quickly when exposed to the cold for an extended period. 

Hypothermia, or a significant decline in body temperature, can then occur.

Frostbite

Frostbite happens when the body experiences damage to the skin, especially going down to the bones. 

Unfortunately, it commonly happens during freezing weather.

It affects the ears, nose, chin, cheeks, hands, and toes. In severe cases, it can lead to loss of limbs.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

It’s not uncommon to use heating sources or the fireplace during the winter season. 

Yet, if these sources aren’t properly used or cleaned, they can leak dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide. 

This one is a very deadly gas that you can’t see or smell. It sometimes also causes one to death.

Other appliances, such as space heaters, can also start fires, so always be careful.

Driving accidents 

Driving becomes more difficult as we get older naturally.

But, the winter season can worsen these challenges and make driving extremely dangerous.

For adults who are aged 65 and older, they are more involved in car crashes compared to other age groups.

And since the roadways and weather may not be ideal throughout the winter, it is crucial to be cautious when driving.

5 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors Aging in Place 

Snow, lights, and cozy fires can make the winter season one of the most beautiful times of the year. 

But, it has also become troubling for seniors, especially those who live alone and with restricted mobility.

Following these safety tips in the winter season with family and friends can help you prepare for the safest possible environment.

How to avoid getting seniors sick 

safety tips: flu shots

As the cold and flu season approaches, seniors and caregivers must understand how this weather can affect them. 

As we get older, our immune systems aren’t always as capable of fighting illnesses as they once were. 

As a result, when viruses like colds and influenza spread quickly, the winter season is a potentially deadly time for seniors.

A cold or the flu are both unpleasant. 

Colds can leave you with a sore throat and sneezing, while the flu leaves you with a high temperature, headaches, and chills.

For some, the flu may be nothing more than a minor inconvenience that leads them to miss a few days of work. 

It can, however, be life-threatening for elderly adults, particularly those with pre-existing conditions.

The American Lung Association advises adults over 50 to get a seasonal flu shot. 

And, the easiest way to avoid any problems involved with the flu is to prevent it before you get it. 

Getting a yearly flu shot might help you stay ahead of the game. 

It will not only keep you from being ill, but it will also protect the people around you. 

The shot works best when given at the start of the cold and flu season, although it can be administered at any time.

Carbon monoxide alarm 

Elderly adults often live alone and far from their family and friends. 

With this fact, it is vital to have carbon monoxide detectors in the house. Also, keep in mind that individuals should keep these detectors up to date.

Using a detector with defects might be dangerous as it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of heaters or fireplaces.

It is one of the essential home safety tips you can use to save lives. 

It’s suggested to get a carbon monoxide detector to ensure that your home doesn’t become filled with poisonous gas.

Cleaning tips for the winter

safety tip: cleaning

As the temperature falls, so does the amount of snow and ice on the ground. 

While the views from your living room window are lovely, the concealed hazards lurking on the walkway are dangerous. 

You can get the assistance of a neighbor or a family member if you are unable to salt or shovel your driveway and walkways. 

The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a dangerous situation by trying to do the shoveling and salting on your own.

Also avoid unnecessary trips to the mailbox or taking the trash out. Wait for the melting if possible. Here in Georgia, it is unlike the ice lasts very long. Avoid an injury caused by slipping. Wait it out.

Shoveling and salting your driveway and walkways will help you stay safe by preventing you from slipping.

Also, get your chimney and flue checked by a professional before the cold weather arrives. 

Use the fireplace regularly so you know that all sections are working well. 

Having both of these checked and cleaned every year will give you peace of mind that using the fireplace will only keep you warm.

However, please do not attempt to check or clean it yourself. To avoid unnecessary injury, delegate this task to a trusted specialist. 

Rather than being injured and unable to attend family meals or gatherings, you want to be able to enjoy your time with your family.

All these cleanings are essential winter safety tips for seniors.

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In-Home Care during weather emergencies

Some senior loved ones can stay home alone and take care of themselves, while others need in-home caregivers to keep them safe.

In either case, the in-home caregiver returns home for the night, and the family takes responsibility. 

If you don’t have a home helper, you should arrange for in-home assistance during weather situations to ensure their safety. 

You may hire someone to help with everyday tasks that would be difficult without power or invite the family to stay with you. 

Preparing for in-home care at critical times could save lives in each case. 

And just having a set of hands can help accomplish daily duties that become challenging in an emergency.

Prepare for possible outages

safety tips: prepare emergency kits

The cold weather undoubtedly increases the possibility of power disruptions. 

Power lines can become weighted down by heavy snowfall and ice conditions, making frequent power outages.

Take a look at these winter safety tips for home to avoid being caught off guard if your power goes out this winter.

Make sure you have flashlights and batteries on hand so you can navigate your home if the power goes out. 

Have blankets readily available (not in the basement, or in the bottom of a closet), so you can stay warm if the power goes out. 

Also, keep caps, scarves, and sweaters that you can layer readily available and accessible to maintain your body heat. 

Maintain non-perishable goods that may be eaten cold in your pantry. 

Keeping food in your pantry that won’t spoil and doesn’t need to be heated will be helpful.

A propane grill can be used to make hot meals outdoors, but do not use a gas grill for indoor heat as this can lead to carbon monoxide buildup.

How to avoid fall risks 

According to World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide. 

Adults above the age of 60 are usually the ones that have the fatal falls. 

Studies have also revealed a link between cold weather and elderly falls. As a result, elderly winter fall prevention is a significant concern. 

In the winter, it’s very simple to slip and fall. 

Avoid walking on slippery or snowy sidewalks; instead, opt for dry, clean walkways.

If you use a cane, replace the rubber tip before it becomes smooth, and wear boots with non-skid soles to avoid slipping. 

safety tips: avoid falls

You might also get an ice pick-like attachment for the end of the cane to keep you from slipping when walking with it.

They’ll also probably need to take a few steps to avoid falling, such as hazard-proofing their home.

Read here for more tips on how to make aging loved one’s houses safer to avoid falls.

Other measures that you can take include improving balance and strength. 

Also, be aware of medication interactions and discuss their medications with their primary care physician or pharmacist.

Low blood pressure, dizziness, vision changes, and a loss of balance are symptoms that can result from medication interactions.

Read more about preventing falls here.

Conclusion 

Aging in place can be extra challenging, especially for seniors who live alone. 

Because of this, we need to make sure that we have a checklist of safety tips to make sure they’re warm and healthy during this season. 

Did we miss anything? What safety tips do you practice for your elders at home?

Share them below.

That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. THE NEED FOR CAREGIVER SELF CARE WHEN CARING FOR THE ELDERLY
  2. BEST MOBILITY AIDS FOR SENIORS THAT WON'T BREAK THE BANK
  3. HAVE A SAFER HOME FOR THE ELDERLY WITH 5 MUST HAVE FEATURES

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