Ensure your loved one’s safety during this season in their own homes. Having a Happier at Home caregiver to monitor your loved one during the cold winter months will help to avoid any risks. Older adults need to take extra precaution when braving the cold in the frigid winter months. In this climate, senior citizens are more at risk for hypothermia, falls, frostbite, and other winter-related accidents. Here are some risks and their associated safety precautions to ensure your loved one’s safety this year:
Hypothermia – Because of the physiological changes associated with aging, older adults are more susceptible to hypothermia. Their bodies lose heat more quickly, and they may be unaware that a change in body temperature is occurring.
- Dress in layers. Help the body maintain a warmer temperature & reduce heat loss.
- Stay indoors when possible or minimize the time spent outside in the winter months.
- Don’t stay immobile for too long—keep your blood flowing.
- Stay dry—wet clothing decreases your body temperature more quickly.
Falls – Older adults are especially at risk for falling in the winter months due to icy, snowy sidewalks.
- Wear proper footwear. Be sure that your shoes have good traction and non-skid soles.
- Replace worn cane and walker tips to make walking easier.
- Remove shoes as soon as you return indoors—snow and ice often attach to soles of shoes and once melted, can lead to slippery conditions inside.
- Enlist help for taking garbage out, shoveling, etc.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Gas-powered furnace and alternative heating sources can increase the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Fireplaces, wood, and gas stoves and appliances can leak dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide (CO).
- Be sure to have working smoke and CO detectors on each floor of your home.
- Know the symptoms of CO poisoning: headaches, weakness, blurred vision, confusion, dizziness, and nausea or vomiting.
- Call an inspector to have the chimney, water heater, and HVAC professionally inspected.
Never use a gas oven to heat the home