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Winter home safety is a priority for senior care.
Elders become more prone to falls and accidents during winter. That’s why caregivers need to be more vigilant during the cold season.
So today, I’m sharing safety tips on how to keep your aging parents safe.
Let’s get started.
Seniors living at home independently face different challenges when the cold season comes .
While the season gives us beautiful sceneries, the cold, the snow, and the seniors don’t mix well.
There’s always a spike in falls and accidents during the winter season. That’s why we must try our best to keep our seniors safe.
Hypothermia in seniors is more common than you think.
Seniors metabolize much slower. Because of this, their bodies are not able to detect the cold. They also don’t produce heat as fast as younger people do.
Freezing temperatures can also cause frostbite, especially for seniors living alone. It can affect appendages usually exposed to below-zero temperatures, like the nose, ears, fingers, and toes.
The cold also means flu season.
Our bodies often have low immune systems when it’s cold. Because of this, we become susceptible to viruses leading to colds and flu.
Our goal is to keep our senior loved ones healthy, warm, and safe.
Get more tips on providing better senior care in the winter here.
While it’s ideal to do home safety checks before winter, not everyone knows what they need to check on.
At the same time, life happens. We all know our intentions are good, but sometimes we just forget what needs to be done.
Or sometimes, our seniors are just not into having someone else care for their homes.
Here are some of the simple things we can do to ensure our loved ones are safe and warm in the winter.
The cold can easily sneak in through nooks and crevices around the house. So it’s good to check on their home’s insulation.
Check for cracks in windows and doors that might let in drafts.
Unlocked windows creep down over time due to gravity and can let in cold air at the top.
Keep the home’s temperatures at 68–70°F. Keep vents and doors closed, especially in rooms that are not being used.
You could also place rolled towels in front of any door to keep the drafts out.
Make sure your elders also dress warmly with loose layers of clothing. Hats, scarves, and warmers also help.
It’s easy to overlook fire and carbon monoxide alarms. So make sure to check that they have fresh batteries and are working.
Replace the batteries every six months to ensure the alarms are good.
It’s also practical to do fire drills with your parents regularly.
If they have hearing aids, ensure the alarms can be heard.
Have an emergency bag ready with everything you need for potential power outages.
It’s best practice to prepare an emergency kit that will last at least 72 hours.
Add batteries and power banks for assistive devices. You’d also want to have lighting resources like flashlights, and battery powered lamps or lanterns.
It’s best to keep candles away since it’s a fire hazard.
Ensure your parent’s stash has food and water supplies, blankets, and extra clothing for warmth.
Use a waterproof bag or box for all important documents to keep them from getting wet or destroyed. And make sure there’s also some cash in case of emergency.
This is often disregarded at homes, but it’s always necessary for you to check on corners, damp areas, and other crevices for mold and mildew.
Black mold can cause major health issues in the long run, especially for senior who's bodies have a more difficult time processing out toxins.
It can cause asthma and allergy flare-ups and alter one’s behaviors.
Research shows seniors living in mold-infested homes and workplaces often suffer from mood swings and depression.
They also show memory issues, anxiety attacks, vertigo, and increased difficulty with word recall.
With that said, it’s important for you as caregivers to do checks for mold and mildew around the house.
How would you know if your elder’s place has a mold infestation?
Some symptoms would show bubbly walls, black dots on clothes, and even gunky bathrooms.
If you see any of these, it’s best to clean the house deeply. Or better yet, call a professional to do it for you.
Learn more about the side effects of mold here.
Winter home safety is important to make sure our senior parents are warm and safe at home.
To do this, you need to check on a few things in and around the house.
Check for alarm systems, mold, and temperature control.
Ensure that your parents are also prepared for emergency situations. Have emergency numbers on speed dial. And if you live far away, have someone check on them regularly.
Do you have any tips you can share with us about how to keep your parents’ homes safe in the winter? Share it with us below.
Look for a future post on the Home Safe Home Assessment I will be providing in partnership with DS Murphy Home Inspections.
That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe at home and have a great day!