How to Keep your Elderly Loved One Safe During Winter

 

Homecare in Fairport, NY

Homecare-in-Fairport-NYIt is that time of year again when the autumn colors of the leaves disappear and the skies are filled with white clouds that tell us snow is coming. While many of us enjoy winter activities and building snowmen with our children, winter weather may mean something entirely different for the elderly. Ice usually accompanies the snow, making outdoor activities a safety hazard for people over the age of 50, resulting in a higher risk of falls, vehicle accidents, and even power outages. If your loved one is accepting senior care from an in-home care aide, you can also keep them safe during these upcoming cold months with a few simple steps.

Inspect the car. If your aging parent is still driving, it is important their vehicle is up to the challenge of icy roads. Do a full inspection to make sure their brakes, heater, tires, wipers, and defrosters are in excellent condition. Having an emergency kit in the vehicle will also keep your loved one prepared in case there is an accident. This kit should be kept in a bag in the trunk or backseat and include snacks (such as granola bars), blankets, a flash light, batteries, and water. Providing your elderly parent with a cell phone and car charger will also ensure they can call you whenever they need to. Signing them up for roadside assistance will also provide them with additional assistance if they are in a car accident.

Prevent falls. Since most seniors are extremely fragile, one slip could cause a hip fracture or worse. Ice is not always easy to spot, especially black ice, so having appropriate footwear (shoes with traction), placing rubber soles on the bottom of their cane or walker, and regularly salting the driveway will help prevent your loved one from having a serious injury due to a fall. If you are not able to be with your family member all day, talk to their neighbors to see if they would be willing to help plow your mom or dad’s driveway, as well as assist with salting their driveway and sidewalk. If their neighbors are unable to help, check with a local senior center for local, affordable winter services.

Prepare the home. As the weather gets colder and the amount of ice on the ground increases, so do the chances of power outages due to the frigid temperatures. While this is no cause for alarm for young adults, not having power for a long period of time could result in hypothermia for your loved one. Similarly to the emergency kit in your loved ones vehicle, having a kit with flashlights, food, blankets, and an extra cell phone batter will keep the elder safe during a power outage. Check in with your loved one periodically and have a plan for when they are not answering their phone. For example, if you live nearby and the roads are safe to travel on, drive to their home to make sure they are safe. However, if it is too difficult for you to stop by, have the contact information of their neighbors and ask that they check in on your loved one.

These tips will help keep your loved one safe during these wintery months, especially for those living alone or receiving elder care.

Source

Guttenberg, Elizabeth, LMSW. Care. “Winter Safety for Seniors.” 16 Nov 2015.

If you or an aging loved one are considering homecare in Fairport, NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.