Winter Tips for Caregivers

undefinedWinter’s cold and ice can be a dangerous time for the elderly and/or infirm. TheAmerican Red Cross says that, “Older adults are at greater risk for cold injuries because the body’s ability to maintain a constant internal temperature decreases with age.” 

So this winter, don’t let Jack Frost bring snow and a visit to the hospital. Keep your loved one’s safe! Here are 5 tips to keep your loved ones safe throughout the season:

1.     Stock Up

Make sure that the pantry and medicine cabinet is well-stocked with any needed food and medications. Talk to the doctor and pharmacist to ensure that you keep enough prescription medication in stock to avoid trips outside in inclement weather.

2.     Keep Warm

Be sure that everyone is dressed warmly and that their residence has heat. If using a portable heater, keep it at least 3 feet away from anything flammable like curtains or couches. Invest in a carbon monoxide detector to ensure the air quality in the home remains healthy. If your carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm, call for help immediately. They are designed to alert you before you feelsymptoms.

3.     Avoid Falls

Keep sidewalks and driveways clear of ice. Make sure that all have non-slip shoes that are appropriate for the weather conditions. Be cautious getting in and out of vehicles – and go slow.  Just because you can’t see the ice doesn’t mean it isn’t there! If a loved one uses a cane or walker, ensure the rubber tips are in good condition.

4.     Emotional Support

Winter can be a time of isolation and depression. Visits to offer companionship can go a long way to lifting the spirits of the homebound.

5.     Ask for Help

Shoveling can be especially dangerous for those who are out of shape, have poor balance or suffer from osteoporosis. Check with neighbors to see if they can help with check-ins, snow removal and grocery runs.  Visit the National Council on Aging for tips, support and links to help in your area.

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