Winter Health and Safety Tips for the Elderly
Winter is a difficult time in terms of safety and health. As a senior, you have to be extra careful this season and take necessary precautions. You shouldn’t go out too much if you don’t have to, but you also don’t want to stay cooped up inside!
There are ways to find a balance so you can still enjoy what the coldest of seasons has to offer. Let one of our home care assistants assist and help make winter more enjoyable for you.
Below are a few tips to stay safe and healthy in winter.
For Your Safety in the House
If you’re looking to create a little extra heat, never use your gas oven to heat your home. This creates far more carbon monoxide particles than is safe and, because the gas is odorless and colorless, it can suddenly lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Set your room to a very comfortable temperature. No need to be restless or cold in the house if you can avoid it.
Though we may be tempted to open windows and let in some air, it’s important to remember to close them. An open window that’s been forgotten can lead to dangerous temperature drop as night approaches.
Don’t attempt to fix any heating or maintenance issue yourself. This could very well make the situation worse and leave you without heat for some time. Be sure to call the proper technicians.
Keep any electrical heaters plugged in directly to the wall outlets. While some power strips are okay, many extension cords are poorly constructed and you run the risk of the cord failing or even worse, causing a fire.
If You Plan on Going Outside
Be sure to wear the right shoes. Non slip shoes or snow boots ensure that you don’t slip and help keep your feet warm. Keeping our feet warm also helps in preventing slips as our feet are more nimble and able to help maintain balance.
Be sure to dress in layers and have an extra layer even if you don’t currently need it. Winter storms or temperature drops can come from nowhere and it’s important to be able to add a layer. If it becomes too hot, you can always remove layers.
Avoid walking on wet or icy surfaces. If you must, be sure to take shorter and more calculated steps. Try not to place all of your weight on only one side of your body.
If you’re heading out, be sure to have an emergency kit at the ready. Emergency kits should always be around, but moreso in winter. A nasty fall or cut can cause bleeding and a loss of blood can rapidly drop your core temperature down.
If you plan on traveling, be sure to bring an extra winter emergency kit. Things like some extra clothes, blankets, boots, road flares, first aid-kits, flashlights and ice scrapers should all be in your winter emergency kit. A few snack bars and water are also good options to pack. It’s also a good idea to ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.
Before you leave your house, check the weather forecast and be sure to understand it. Listen carefully for any weather changes that could occur within the time frame of your outing.
If you happen to be driving, drive with the utmost of care and precautions. Give plenty of time and extra space to the vehicles around you. Assume that every other driver is also having visibility issues and drive accordingly.
For Your Health
At Christian Companions, not only is your physical health of paramount importance, but so is your mental health. During the winter months, many more people opt for staying indoors and not venturing out as much. This can create a bubble of loneliness quite quickly and add to the difficulties of the harsh weather. Our in-home caregivers are the perfect solution to fight the winter blues. Please reach out to us and we can coordinate an assistant perfect for your health needs and help stave off winter loneliness.
To stay healthy physically and mentally:
Eat a balanced diet! Though we’ll be tempted to eat more calorie dense foods to help maintain warmth, its important not to stray too far from eating the nutrients the rest of our body requires.
Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. We tend to stay indoors more during winter months and in-home heating creates dry air. This dry air will add to the dryness of our skin so it’s important to drink plenty of water to combat this. Humidifiers are also a great option to help maintain moisture in the air and help your skin and breathing.
Be sure to call your family and loved ones often and keep in touch. It’s important to talk with others and share our worries. Historically speaking, winters have always been the harshest of times for us as humans and it’s important to maintain our spirits, even in the absence of light.
Engage in fun activities, do tasks that will engage your mind and keep you active. Activities like knitting and puzzles are recommended for seniors.
Exercise has been shown time and time again to improve both physical and mental wellness. Don’t worry, you don’t have to become an athlete overnight. An indoor walk around the house or stretches are perfect examples of exercises you can do at home that will help boost your spirits and help blood flow. Don’t attempt anything new or too strenuous, as our bodies are much stiffer during winter months.
Stay safe and healthy during these challenging times. Our in-home care staff is here to help and more than happy to attend to you. Reach out to us today for a service that puts your needs first.