The months of winter are overflowing with a great deal beauty: shimmering icicles, pure white snow, warm, inviting fires. But it is also laden with potential risks, specifically for older adults. The Johnson County home healthcare team at Hearts at Home wants to assist you in keeping your older loved ones safe this winter with the tips below:
- Prevent hypothermia. When the temperature outside falls, our body temperature can quickly drop as well – even more quickly for older adults. Senior individuals should minimize time outdoors throughout the winter, and wear layers of loosely-fitting clothes and appropriate outerwear such as mittens or gloves, a warm winter coat, slip-proof boots, hat and scarf when venturing out. If your senior loved one shows the warning signs of hypothermia (pale, cold skin, sleepiness and confusion, weakness, slowed breathing and/or heart rate, problems with walking) call 911 immediately for help.
- Prevent falls. Frozen walkways are, of course, hazardous, but falls are also prevalent when coming indoors with snow-covered boots or shoes. Make sure walking areas and stairs are clear and dry and that seniors wear sturdy, slip-resistant boots when outside (and that they are taken off at the entranceway when arriving back at home). There are also accessories available for walkers and canes that provide extra traction for walking outside, which are much safer than standard rubber tips.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. While they are certainly cozy, fireplaces and wood stoves, in addition to gas-powered appliances, can leak carbon monoxide if not correctly vented. Make certain a working carbon monoxide detector is strategically placed in the senior’s home, and seek immediate medical assistance if any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are observed: weakness, vomiting or nausea, headache, dizziness, confusion, blurry vision, or loss of consciousness. And make certain chimneys and flues are inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once a year.
- Prevent driving accidents. Adults age 65 and above are at elevated risk for auto accidents, and even more so in difficult driving conditions. One solution to maximize safety is to engage the services of Hearts at Home’s professional Johnson County home health care staff, who are always available to provide safe, escorted transportation, or to run errands for seniors.
For more tips to help keep seniors safe this winter season, and all through the year, call on Hearts at Home. We offer a free in-home evaluation to make certain the home environment is as safe as possible, and can also recommend and coordinate any necessary home alterations, as well as a full range of personalized Johnson County home health care services for seniors. Contact us at 913-440-4209 to learn more!