Tips for Seniors in the Winter Months

You wouldn’t know it being 50 out on December 15th, but winter is going to be here any moment. 

If you yourself need a little extra help now and then, if you are caring for a loved one, or even if you’re loved one just recently needs a little bit of extra help. Here are some tips that you’re going to need to keep yourself or your loved ones safe for the next couple of months.

·       If you are not able to do everything for your own. Ask for help silly!!!
The most important tip to keep in mind is to ask for help. If you need help to clear the drive, sidewalks, etc. don’t hesitate to ask a family member, neighbor, social service agency or hire a professional. Really, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
·       If you’re worried about your loved one.
o   Check in on them regularly, if you live out of town, arrange for neighbors/family to check in.
o   Arrange for someone to keep sidewalks shoveled and de-iced.
o   Make sure your loved one has emergency supplies.
o   Arrange transportation if need be, have groceries delivered, etc.
o   Hire a professional in home care agency such as Comfort of Home Healthcare to come in and help take good care of your loved one during these months.
·       Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!!! There are a handful of likely scenarios that are going to happen during the winter season, prepare for them.
o   Power Outages – At some point, a winter storm is going to lead to a power outage. Make sure there is easy access to flashlights and a battery powered radio. Stockpile warm blankets. Keep some non perishable food and water stored away. Here is a winter weather checklist you might find useful.
§  Oxygen – if you or your loved one is on oxygen you/they most likely have a generator supplying it. If your power goes out you will need backup tanks. Have a supply of both large tanks and smaller portable tanks readily available.

o   Home Heating Safety
§  Service the furnace every fall to make sure it’s in working order.
§  Have all chimneys and flues inspected yearly and cleaned as needed.
§  Install and upkeep on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
·       Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poising. Be SURE to pay special attention to the carbon monoxide detectors and get an updated one if needed.
§  Keep a fire extinguisher handy, replace as needed and know how to use it.
§  Place space heaters at least three feet from any curtains, betting, etc.

·    
   Stay Inside – This is an easy one. If you don’t have to get out, don’t. Seniors are more susceptible to hypothermia. Conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, severe arthritis and even some medications can limit the body’s response to cold.
o   IF you have to go out – Dress appropriate, even for a “walk out to the mailbox”. One slip and a fall could mean that your outside for longer than you anticipated.

·       Fight Wintertime Depression – Not being with others and spending more time indoors can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
o   Call family members and check in daily. Get as much contact with others as possible.
o   If you are the family member, call your loved one as often as possible. Even a short daily phone call can make a big difference. If you can visit, even better!

These are just some simple tips and are not intended to be all encompassing. Be sure to get with your family and create a plan as everyone is different and will have different needs.

We hope you find this helpful and hope that you and your loved ones stay safe this winter season. Like always; Comfort of Home Healthcare is here to help, call us if you need anything!