The winter months, while cozy, can be especially dangerous and isolating for seniors living at home alone or with a partner. Along with snow and ice, winter can usher in the increased risks for falls, hypothermia, and even depression for seniors throughout the country. Here are a few ways you can combat Old Man Winter and stay healthy this season.
Check That Thermostat
When you are visiting your loved one in their home, be sure you are double-checking their thermostat. Unfortunately, some seniors try to save money and stay within their fixed budget by choosing to keep their heat turned down. According to the National Institute on Aging, a cold home can quickly lead to hypothermia, especially for seniors living with other complex medical conditions. Keep the heat running this season in order to stay warm. If your loved one is sincerely worried about energy bills, contact the city’s senior services department. Most towns offer some type of relief for seniors to assure their safety at home.
Avoid Slippery Situations
Snowy and icy conditions are dangerous for anyone, but senior falls can be devastating, leading to broken bones and extended skilled nursing stays. Keep your loved one safe by assuring you have an ice removal system in place. Work with a local landscaping company for consistent snow removal if you are not nearby, and ask a friendly neighbor to keep the sidewalks and stairs salted. Be sure that your loved one’s outside stairs have a sturdy railing to give extra stability as well.
Talk to the Doctor
Winter conditions, such as cold temperatures, can have adverse side effects for seniors living with certain health challenges. For example, diabetes can make it more difficult for blood to circulate during cold snaps and arthritis can become especially painful during the winter weather. Talk to your loved one’s physician to see if there are any special concerns during these next few months, as well as what symptoms could indicate a potential emergency.
Make Staying Inside Easier
Sometimes, the best thing for your loved one to do during especially cold weather is to ride it out from inside their cozy homes. To make staying inside a bit easier, arrange for grocery shopping and errand assistance through CaringGivers. We can brave the cold and bring your loved one items from their list and even help prepare delicious (and warm) homecooked meals to enjoy.
Fight Isolation and Depression
While staying indoors may be the best option for some seniors during the winter, it is imperative that you make plans to avoid feelings of loneliness or isolation. Increase your visits or phone calls, and work with the team at CaringGivers to stop by weekly for a friendly visit. Isolated seniors are typically depressed seniors, and a visit from a friendly CaringGiver employee can make a huge difference in your loved one’s mental health.
Are you ready to set your loved one up for success this winter? Give our team a call to develop a plan to assure your loved one stays safe, warm, social, and happy these next few months. We can make it through the winter together.