For a caregiver, winter can be an especially stressful time. Not only do you have to worry about the usual struggles and unexpected obstacles of elderly care, but now you've got to be aware of icy roads, cold weather, power outages, and more. You want to keep your loved one mobile and give them a sense of freedom, but the risks of winter are real, and worth preparing for. Use these helpful tips to keep your loved one safe this winter, and minimize the pitfalls of the season.
You might not be able to watch your loved one 24/7. If they routinely go for walks, or even outside to retrieve the mail, they run the risk of slipping and falling on ice. If it's snowed (even just a little), you should be sure to shovel the driveway and any walkways, and spread salt to help with grip. Seniors should feel safe in their yards, and shoveling is an easy way to prevent unnecessary accidents.
If you're going outside with your loved one, or you know they'll be traveling or running errands, make sure they're dressed appropriately. Cold weather is a favorite breeding ground for colds, flus, and other illnesses that can be particularly devastating to the elderly. Throwing on an extra layer is easy, and goes a long way toward ensuring your loved one stays healthy.
One of winter's greatest hazards is icy roads. Seniors may feel relatively safe behind the wheel, and are eager to maintain a degree of independence, but even a minor car accident can prove devastating for a senior with health concerns. Don't let your loved one take the wheel alone. If there's any threat of slippery roads, don't leave it up to chance. Offer to drive them on errands or to appointments.
Speaking of driving, winter is one of the worst times to experience car failure. If your loved one is driving alone, it's crucial to make sure their car has been thoroughly inspected; that the brakes work, the battery doesn't need replacing, and windshield wipers are working properly. This will both make your loved one safer on the road, and give you peace of mind.
Winter often brings storms and blizzards that can not only make roads impassable, but also knock out your power for several days. One of the most important parts of elderly care is stocking up on supplies for any eventuality. Make sure you have flashlights on hand so your loved one can get around the house with ease. Candles, firewood, and plenty of blankets are also essential for braving an outage during the winter months, and keeping seniors safe and warm.
For more information on how to keep your senior safe, or to enlist our elderly care services this winter, contact us here.