Winter is coming. While preparing your home for the winter can be a challenge, it can be extra challenging to have a senior in your family.
Winter can bring many healthcare issues to the forefront for seniors. The harsh weather presents many risks and hazards to the older people in the family. Some health risks that the winter months bring include hypothermia, flu, and slip and falls.
Before the winter months come in, make sure to take the necessary precautions to ensure your older family member’s well-being and safety. Whether your elders are living on their own or are living with you, here are some things that you can do to help your seniors.
Check the windows and roofs of your home.
Check the windows for cracks where the warmed air can escape. Call a window replacement contractor if necessary. Ensure that there are no gaps around your windows where the cold draft can enter through weatherstripping. Add insulation if needed. Drafty windows will let the chilly air inside and cause your heating bill to skyrocket.
Leaky roofs can lead to the growth of mold and damage the interior of the home. It can also bring in the chilly air and provide the heated air a way to escape. Call your roof professionals for a roof inspection before winter starts to roll in.
Plan for the removal of snow.
Everyone is at risk of slip and falls. Because of their frail health and physique, seniors might sustain more severe injuries because of the fall. During winter, it is important to keep your path walks and patio free from snow and ice.
This won’t be much of a problem if you are living with your senior. Any able, healthy young men in your household can take care of the ice and snow removal.
If your senior is living alone, arrange for someone to do the shoveling of snow and ice. Their old age, plus their poor balance and other physical conditions, will affect the physical activities that they can do. Shoveling of snow is definitely out of the question.
Ask a relative or a neighbor to do the shoveling for your senior. Better yet, you can hire a professional service to clean the grounds from ice and snow.
Prepare winter-proof clothing.
Of course, you would want your senior safe, warm, and dry. Besides preparing all the sweaters to keep your senior warm and cozy, you should also prepare shoes and boots with non-skid soles. Mittens, socks, and beanies can also help keep them warm and comfortable.
Remind your senior and everyone in your home to remove their shoes before entering the house. This is to avoid bringing in ice and water on the floor, which can cause a slip and fall.
Ensure that the heating is working properly.
Have the heating serviced and maintained before the cold months start. Having a broken heater in the middle of a chilly night is an inconvenience you wouldn’t want your senior to experience. You can also invest in space and portable heaters for the senior’s bedroom for some extra warmth. Just make sure to purchase high-quality space heaters to ensure your senior’s safety.
To keep your heating efficient, close off rooms that no one is using. Set the thermostat no lower than 68 degrees. You might be tempted to set it lower to save on your heating costs, but seniors are vulnerable to the chill, which can adversely affect their health.
Make sure that they eat healthy foods.
Good nutrition is important all year round, not just for seniors, but for everyone. Your seniors must be taking in the important nutrients that they need to fight off the cold and its effects. Their diet is of utmost importance, so make sure that they eat healthily and on time.
If you live with your senior, make sure to prepare healthy foods that meet their nutritional needs. If your senior lives in a separate home, you can help them by doing the weekly groceries. Get them some fruits and vegetables, as well as fruit juices and milk. Make sure that they also stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day.
Visit them frequently.
If your seniors live on their own, make sure to visit them. The threat of the cold weather and the dangers outdoors can leave your seniors feeling isolated in their homes. By visiting them, you don’t only ease their loneliness. You can also make sure that they have everything they need, from food, medicines, toiletries, to emergency supplies. Bring some supplies and home-cooked meals. Inspect their heating and the rest of the home.
Of course, don’t just visit for the sake of appearance. Spend the rest of the day with them. You can cook for them in the kitchen, watch movies together, or share a cup of hot chocolate and talk.
Your seniors should also have easy access to you in case of emergencies. Make sure your phone number is on speed dial on their phone, so they can easily call you.
Encourage your seniors to be open with you with their needs. If the weather is fine, you can take them out for a quick walk or some fun and safe activity with the rest of the family.