Winter is a difficult time for seniors who live in colder climates. During the winter months, falls present a problem for many seniors; to help prevent falls, a good idea is to install hand support bars in areas of high risk, such as steps in front of outside doors and bathrooms. One fact that many do not realize, is many seniors with blood pressure issues score higher readings during cold weather. This rise leads to a higher risk for stroke. Try to encourage your loved one, should they be a senior, to stay home in freezing weather conditions and during the hours of darkness.
Here are some useful tips to help keep your loved ones safe during the winter months:
– Wear several layers of thin clothing (wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers will hold more body heat than cotton) indoors, which will help insulate the body by trapping warmth in the air pockets between the layers.
– Use a throw blanket to place across the lap or to cover feet and shoulders to help stay warm. Throws and shawls made of fleece are great because they are not only warm, but also lightweight and less bulky than other fabrics.
– Fleece slippers should be worn around the house to help keep feet warm. Look for non-skid bottoms to help prevent slips and falls.
– It is recommended by the medical community that seniors should get vaccinated annually against the flu. The season for flu runs from mid-October to mid-March, and the illness can be fatal to older adults. The vaccine offers some, if not complete, protection.
– Prepare furnace, boiler or heat pump for winter by having them professionally tuned-up in the Fall. Change furnace filters at least every three months to keep warm air flowing.
– Try out different furniture arrangements to move the furniture that is used most away from drafts. Move a favorite chair and place it in the warmest spot in a room.
– Avoid the risk of home fires. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
– Plan for medical needs. Have extra medications on hand or identify a pharmacy that can deliver them.
The best plan to have in place is one of prevention and common sense. Keep your loved ones safe this holiday season; take the opportunity to be of service to those who need some extra TLC.