Winter Safety Tips for Seniors
The winter season brings so many unique experiences, not to mention the holidays, but it’s definitely not a season to mess with 🙂
During the cold winter months, especially here when you never know what might come next (a snow day, flooding, or 60 degree day in December all the way through March), it’s so important that you take special care of your loved one and take proper steps to protect one another from dangerous slips and falls, and stay warm together every step of the way.
Avoid falls – especially due to slippery ice and snow
Ice is definitely hard to spot at times outdoors, especially black ice, which is one of the leading causes of severe injuries due to falls in the wintertime. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 1 million Americans are injured, and 17,000 people die, as a result of slip and fall injuries every year.
Tip: Wear shoes with traction, meaning non-skid soles, and winter boots with rubber bottoms ideally. Try wearing ice grabbers, which can easily attach to any winter boot or shoe for increased traction (offered at our headquarters). If your client uses a cane or walker, try replacing the ends with non-skid toppers. Also, be sure to remove shoes and place them in a tray near the front door to avoid falls due to melted ice in the house.
According to the CDC, over half of hypothermia-related deaths happened amongst people over the age of 65. Hypothermia and frostbite occurs when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees, and can even occur indoors when temperatures drop and the individual isn’t able to move around as easily.
Tip: Dress with appropriate laters, and always cover exposed skin when outdoors. Our personal favorites and recommendations are to prioritize wearing clothes such as turtlenecks, fleece lined pants and thick socks that won’t leave you relying on heavy scarves or coats that won’t keep your client as warm as you’d like. Of course, never forget about proper headgear (ear-muffs aren’t enough)
When indoors, take caution
One of the least talked about tragedies that may occur during the winter season is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Every house is different, especially ever appliance. Using a fireplace, gas heater or even a lantern can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Tips: Before the temperatures drop, buy an updated carbon monoxide detector or replace the batteries in each throughout your client’s house. Also be sure to ask for help when checking on your client’s older appliances to ensure that they are up to current safety standards, and in good condition to use them throughout the next few months.
If you are ever in need of additional support or help, don’t hesitate to contact your leading homecare agency! We’d be happy to offer more guidance and hands-on solutions to prepping yourself and your loved one efficiently for the cold months ahead.