Winter is filled with so much beauty: sparkling icicles, pure white snow, cozy, crackling fires. But it’s also laden with hazards, especially for older adults. The New Hampshire home care team at Live Free Home Health Care wants to help you keep your senior loved ones safe this winter with the following suggestions:
- Prevent hypothermia. When the temperature outside drops, our body temperature can quickly drop as well – even more quickly for older adults. Seniors should limit time outdoors during the winter, and wear layers of loose-fitting clothing and appropriate outerwear such as gloves, a warm winter coat, boots, hat and scarf when venturing out. If your senior loved one shows the red flags of hypothermia (pale, cold skin, confusion and sleepiness, weakness, slowed breathing and/or heart rate, trouble walking) call 911 immediately for assistance.
- Prevent falls. Icy walkways are, of course, hazardous, but falls are also prevalent when coming indoors with snowy boots or shoes. Ensure walkways and steps are clear and dry and that older adults wear sturdy, slip-resistant boots when outside (and that they’re removed at the entrance when returning home). There are also attachments available for canes and walkers that provide extra traction for outdoor ambulation, which are much safer than regular rubber tips.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. While they’re certainly cozy, fireplaces and wood stoves, as well as gas appliances, can leak carbon monoxide if not properly vented. Be sure a working carbon monoxide detector is strategically placed in your senior loved one’s home, and seek medical attention immediately if any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are noted: weakness, nausea/vomiting, headache, confusion, dizziness, blurry vision, or loss of consciousness. And make sure chimneys and flues are professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
- Prevent driving accidents. Seniors age 65 and older are at heightened risk for auto accidents, and even more so in difficult driving conditions. One solution to enhance safety is to partner with Live Free Home Health Care’s professional New Hampshire home care staff, who are on hand to provide safe, accompanied transportation, or to run errands for older adults.
For more tips to help keep seniors safe this winter, and throughout the year, call on Live Free Home Health Care. We offer a free in-home safety assessment to ensure that the home environment is as safe as possible, and can also recommend and coordinate any necessary home modifications, as well as a full range of customized New Hampshire home care services for seniors. Call us at 603-217-0149 to learn more!