11 Tips to Keep Seniors Safe This Winter
Winter is a difficult time for seniors with dementia. The season brings cold, snowy weather that can lead to falls, frostbite, and other injuries – not to mention the added stress of coping with changes in their environment. As caregivers, you are faced with keeping your senior loved one safe throughout this winter season. To make things easier on both of you, here are 11 tips for keeping them warm and healthy through the winter:
Tip #1 Keep your senior’s living space well-lit
1) Keep your senior’s living space well-lit at all times, so they don’t trip over anything or hurt themselves while walking around dark rooms.
Tip #2 Assume All Surfaces Are Slippery
Ice can form on the ground as soon as it gets cold outside. It’s easy to spot regular ice, but what about black ice? Black ice is thinner and harder to see than regular ice, hidden below a thin layer of snow. Always assume that any surface your senior walks on will be slippery when it’s cold outside.
If you need to, take things slow. Wear well-tractioned shoes (preferably boots) and make frequent stops during your walks. Push grocery carts like a TUG, use a rolling walker, and remove all loose clothing and jewelry that could get caught on something.
Tip #3 Get a Handicapped Sticker or License Plate
The more walking outside your loved one has to do, the greater risk of falling.
If you or your loved one have a handicapped sticker, use it for extra precaution when traveling places. If neither of you has a handicapped sticker, consider getting one from your local DMV office. This way, they can park in the Handicapped spots right in front of buildings.
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Tip #4 Use Indoor Parking Lots/Garages
If you have to take your loved one out in the winter, utilize indoor parking garages. These are even better than regular handicapped spots because they tend to be well-lit and keep snow/ice from accumulating in these areas.
If you’re heading somewhere with parking garages, call ahead and speak with an attendant. Some facilities don’t allow scooters or walkers in their parking garages, so it’s best to be prepared ahead of time for situations like this.
Tip #5 Get an Emergency Kit Ready For Your Senior’s Home
If something happens while outside in winter weather – say a fall – make sure to keep emergency numbers of family members and friends with their names and contact information.
This kit should include a list of medications and dosages and insurance information if they need to go to the hospital so that whoever finds them knows what medication they take, how much each day, and who their doctor or care provider is.
When an accident happens outside in winter weather, the last thing you want is not to have all this vital information easily accessible.
Tip #6 Keep all pathways clear of snow and ice, so seniors don’t slip on them
Falls are one of the most common causes of injury among seniors with dementia. They’re caused by not feeling well, changes in sensation, muscle weakness, and balance problems.
Fall prevention is important because it could lead to severe injuries like head trauma and fractures – not to mention how upsetting it can be for your loved one if they hurt.
Keep all pathways clear of snow and ice, so seniors don’t slip and fall, especially around the front door for when they’re coming in from outside, as well as any other areas where seniors may frequently be walking.
Tip #7 Use a Handrail for Stairs
Ensure senior loved ones wear gloves when using handrails, so their hands don’t get cold as quickly. This will help prevent falls, too, since sliding against the railing can easily lead to an accident if you are not careful.
It’s also a good idea to consider getting handrails for all the stairs in the home, especially if you have an older loved one living with dementia. This will make it easier when it comes time to go up and down the steps in winter weather when their balance is affected by cold temperatures.
Tip #8 Dress Extra Warm
As a caregiver, you know how important it is to keep your loved one safe and warm this winter season. But with all of the other responsibilities on your plate, it can be hard to make sure your senior friend or family member stays extra warm during these cold months.
Dressing seniors extra-warm will help keep them safe this winter by preventing hypothermia and frostbite. It also helps prevent falls that can lead to more severe injuries like concussions or broken bones.
Tip #9 Avoid Electric Blankets
Electric blankets can be excellent devices for keeping warm at night, but they pose a burn risk to seniors with dementia.
In the winter months, seniors with dementia are at a higher risk of the night wandering. Make sure to choose an alternative heating device for them instead.
Tip #10 Look out for any signs that someone is struggling with depression or loneliness during this time of year
The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but they can bring sadness and loneliness to some seniors. It’s essential to look out for signs that a senior is struggling with depression or loneliness during the holidays and winter season.
If your senior has been spending more time alone, not participating in activities they once enjoyed, sleeping excessively, withdrawing from family members and friends, or talking about suicide – it may indicate depression. You should take these warning signs seriously because many resources help seniors cope with their feelings of sadness and isolation during the winter months.
The winter and holiday season can be challenging for seniors, especially if they’re feeling lonely or depressed. The cold temperatures and snow can make it difficult for seniors to do even basic tasks like walk or climb stairs, which is why we’ve compiled this list of tips that should help keep them safe around the house. If you’re caring for an aging loved one right now, please take a few minutes to read over these ideas, so they don’t become injured in their own home.
With some preparation and simple changes to your loved ones living space, you may be able to provide them with more comfort and safety in their home.
If you need any additional assistance with your senior care needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Linda’s Care Home Care anytime! We offer a free consultation on our services and live-in care options that will allow your loved ones to stay safely within their home environment while receiving daily care.