The cold winter season comes with a plethora of dangers, especially for seniors in society. From health concerns to falls and slips, everyone can find it a difficult season to deal with and things are even harder for older adults. As a family, you must have plans to take care of the seniors in your lives. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), winter cold kills twice as many Americans as does summer heat. The same report showed that older people were more prone to weather-related accidents and death. For this reason, you need to tape substantial steps to keep your older relatives safe throughout this season.
This article highlights some of the dangers to look out for and suggests five effective steps you can take to keep your elders safe during the winter. Let us have a look at what you need to be aware of:
Risks to Lookout for during wintertime
To offer the best quality of care for your senior relative during wintertime, you have to understand the risks. These include:
1. Health risks: These include hypothermia, frostbites, Dementia and Sun-downing (Sundowners Syndrome is characterized by agitation, anger, confusion and memory loss during the evening hours). Flu is also a major concern, caused due to weakened immune systems, and can lead to secondary infections that include pneumonia.
2. Physical risks: Precipitation and a decrease in ambient light can make walking a nightmare for older adults leaving them prone to slips and falls.
3. Wintertime Blues (seasonal affective disorder/SAD): The decrease in daytime light during the winter can cause many people to suffer from a decrease in energy and mood during the winter.
4. Social isolation: Many times the elderly cannot move around a lot and neither can their loved ones. Loneliness can make winter a tough season. If not addressed, isolation can lead to unhappiness and poor mood and even depression.
5. Fires and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: The fireplace or other heating sources can lead to poisoning especially where a senior lives alone.
Your elderly relative can face many other risks during the winter. As a caregiver, you need to watch out for them keenly.
Five Tips for the Elderly during wintertime
Now that you are aware of some of the dangers your loved one can face during the winter; you need to design a plan to deal with these dangers. The following are some of the methods you should use to guarantee that the senior in your life stay safe throughout the winter season. Here you go:
1. Take care of Incontinence
According to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, over half of seniors above the age of 50 suffer from bladder or bowel incontinence. While this is ordinarily a difficult medical problem to deal with, it becomes worse during the winter. The rate of urine loss increases and if there is no proper incontinence management, there is a huge risk of skin infections and hypothermia. You should invest in an effective incontinent product to keep your loved one dry during this cold season. Using the best incontinence products also boosts their self-esteem as they can easily interact with the rest of the family without fear of embarrassment. In essence, using an adult diaper mitigates the risk of skin infection, hypothermia, seasonal affective disorder, and social isolation, all at once.
2. Stay Close and in Touch
Winter is not the best of seasons for moving around. It is for this reason that many seniors go through horrendous experiences. If you have a senior in your life, plan on how to keep them close at your home or find them a caregiver for extra care. If your older adult lives alone, make sure there is an emergency number for use in case of accidents. It is important to sacrifice time to visit your loved one regularly whether they live at home or in a facility. They will appreciate the get-togethers and will always look forward to these moments to forget the cold.
3. Keep Them Warm
Staying warm is the best way to avoid problems during the cold season. For the elderly, this is more important because they are susceptible to a myriad of health problems. If your loved one stays in a facility, confirm that they have additional bed coverings and buy extra warm clothes for them. Do not trust what the caregivers tell you but instead insist on seeing their living conditions to ensure that they are comfortable and safe despite the weather. If you have a senior in your house, make sure you insist on heavy and warm clothing to avert opportunistic diseases such as the flu. Whenever they step out, make sure they wear their hat, gloves, and scarves.
4. Keep Walkways Clear
One of the biggest causes of accidents during winter is snow and ice. It causes slips and falls, and for seniors, such accidents can cause untold suffering due to hip fractures, head trauma, and major lacerations. Most seniors already have bone problems and one more fall will cause pain and distress for a long time. For this reason, make sure you keep your compound clear of snow and ice. Do not take any chances because simple accidents can prove fatal for seniors and this is the last thing you want for your family.
5. Implement Safe Home Heating
Many home accidents during winter occur due to faulty heating systems. If you have a senior in your life, you have to provide safe heating in their living spaces. Go for a heating system that does not need close monitoring. Seniors can easily forget and leave such heating units running leading to accidents such as fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. The best way to go about this is by installing a fire and carbon monoxide detector for the early detection of these problems.
There you have it. To keep your senior relative safe during the winter, keep them warm by providing them with proper dressing and safe heating systems. Use the best incontinence products, keep their outdoor living spaces clear of ice and snow and make sure that they have the right type of shoes for winter weather; and of course stay close to them and make them feel appreciated. These tips will help you provide better quality care for your loved one and keep them safe during wintertime. Order Free Incontinence Samples today at Wellness Briefs.