Helping Older Adults Stay Safe This Winter
Winter has arrived, bringing with it freezing temperatures, snow, ice and sleet. For older adults, these weather-related conditions can lead to dangerous situations. Older adults may be more prone to illness and depression during the winter months. There may also be an increase in falls due to slippery conditions.
To help lessen these risks, you can help older adults by:
- Ensuring that they wear shoes with non-slip soles to prevent slips on ice.
- Checking rubber tips on walkers and canes to make sure the rubber is not worn down.
- Making sure their home has sufficient lighting since it gets dark earlier.
- Checking their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Keeping indoor temperatures above 65 degrees. (Older adults are more prone to hypothermia.)
- Stocking up on non-perishable items, which can be used if the power goes out.
- Arranging for someone to shovel and plow their driveway.
- Arranging for them to stay with a friend or family member if a major storm is predicted.
- Checking to see if their newspaper can be delivered to the doorstep instead of at the end of the driveway.
- Ensuring that they have proper winter clothing and enough blankets.
- Checking in with them frequently to see how they are feeling and visiting them more often due to an increased risk of social isolation.
- Encouraging them to stay hydrated. (They may drink less fluids in colder weather, which increases the risk of dehydration and illness.)
- Encouraging good nutrition. (Food provides the fuel needed to keep warm!)
- Allowing extra time when traveling. (Rushing them may result in a slip on snow or ice.)
- Checking to see if they’ve had their flu and pneumonia shots and making sure they have sufficient medication supplies in case of major storms
Taking care of older adults during the winter is not an easy job. If you don’t feel that your loved one can live safely on their own this winter, know that you do have options, including assisted living.
About One MacDonough Place
One MacDonough Place is an assisted living community owned by Middlesex Health. It is located in Middletown and is currently offering a 60-day winter respite stay.
For more information about One MacDonough Place and its special winter offering, visit onemacdonoughplace.org or call 860-358-5802.