Integrity Point of View Articles

How to Keep Your Senior Relative Safe This Winter

By: Integrity Home Care + Hospice

There’s a lot to love about winter. Things tend to slow down a bit, the air feels crisp and clean,  and it’s the perfect time to bundle up with a good book by the fire. But with winter comes winter weather, and with winter weather comes health hazards that seniors are particularly susceptible to. When temperatures drop, seniors are more likely to experience weather-related health problems and injuries, such as falls, car crashes, and hypothermia. At Integrity Home Care we’re committed to providing excellent home health care, and today we want to discuss what you can do to help keep your senior relative safe this winter. 

Help Prevent Falls 

Each year around 36 million falls are reported among Americans age 65 and older, and they are more likely to happen during icy and snowy conditions. There are several steps you can take to help prevent your senior relative from becoming part of this statistic. 

  1. Make sure their steps and walkways are clear of snow and ice 
  2. Salt steps and walkways to help melt ice and prevent it from refreezing 
  3. Make sure your senior relative wears good-quality boots with non-skid soles
  4. Encourage them to stay home during inclement weather 

Winterize Their Car 

Winter roads can be particularly dicey (AND icy). To help seniors stay safe on the road, make sure their car has been winterized. Here’s what you can do to get their car ready for winter weather: 

  1. Switch to snow tires 
  2. Replace the wiper blades with a fresh pair 
  3. Check the tire pressure 
  4. Inspect belts for cracks and looseness 
  5. Prepare an emergency kit with jumper cables, ice scraper, blankets, gloves, flashlight, water and snacks

Inspect Fireplaces and Other Heating Sources 

Fireplaces and gas and wood stoves can be excellent sources of heat, but they can also cause fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. A professional should inspect and clean fireplaces and wood stoves annually. Space heaters can also be a fire hazard, and should sit on a hard, level surface at least three feet away from combustible material. Additionally, make sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home. 

Related post: Avoiding Isolation When Homebound

Help Prevent Hypothermia 

According to the National Institute for Aging, older adults are more susceptible to hypothermia  because they tend to lose body heat faster. It’s common to think of hypothermia occurring outdoors, but it can happen inside as well, especially if your relative is sick. The National Institute  for Aging recommends setting the thermostat between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also encourage them to dress warmly and check on them during cold weather spells. 

Integrity Home Care is Here to Help 

If you are interested in learning more about home health care for your senior relatives, please  do not hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you. You can reach us online, or call us at 855-442-4968.