Tips to Keep Seniors Safe During Winter
As the temperature drops and the weather outside is frightful; it can be tempting to snuggle in the covers for the entire day. As fancy as the idea of snuggling in bed with a cup of hot chocolate sounds, the harsh winter chill can be particularly dangerous for older people. As the elderly can lose body heat fast, faster than when they were young, a big chill can have severe implications on their health. Doctors call this serious problem hypothermia.
What is Hypothermia?
The most common dangers of harsh winters include broken bones from falling on the stairway or sidewalks. However, there are more serious and less obvious dangers associated with winters that affect older people. Older adults are especially vulnerable to hypothermia, which can be deadly if not treated quickly. Hypothermia is what happens when your body temperature gets very low. For an older person, a body temperature of 95°F or lower can cause serious health concerns such as heart failure, kidney failure, liver damage.
In addition, since most senior people are less active, they are less likely to generate less body heat. So exposure to even mild colds or a slight drop in temperatures can quickly develop into hypothermia.
If you are a caregiver of a senior loved one, here are a few tips for seniors to prepare for a safer, healthier winter season.
Dress for the Weather?
Cold temperatures can be a risk of easily preventable frostbite and hypothermia—-especially for those over age 65. This is why it is very important to dress appropriately for the weather to ensure the cold does not get to them. Make sure you do not skip bundling up your elder folks with layers, as the air between the layers can keep them warm. Don’t forget a hat and scarf, as it is easy to lose a lot of body heat from heat and feet, making them susceptible to hypothermia.
Follow Covid-19 Protocols
Although the restrictions are starting to lift and things are slowly opening up, this does not mean the pandemic is quite over yet. The second wave of Covid-19 was not very kind to anyone, let alone those above 65 with comorbidities. To reduce the spread of illness, especially during cold and flu season when our immune systems may be weakened, continue to regularly wash your hands and disinfect the home. Also, make sure you and your loved ones wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols to slow the spread.
Keep a Stock of the Necessary Medicines
If your loved ones are already suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes and thyroid; these conditions can make it hard for their body to stay warm. Talk to the doctor about their medications and how they may affect them this winter. If a big winter storm or icy conditions are in the forecast, look at the medicine cabinet and make sure you have enough medications for at least a week.
If you are struggling to take care of your elders during these harsh winters, and are looking for elderly home assistance services, get in touch with us today!