We are in the heart of the winter season and with amount of snow and ice affecting our area, the staff at St. Andrew’s Senior Solutions would like to take this opportunity to share some tips about winter safety with clients and caregivers.
Winter poses many threats to older adults but by putting some precautions in place we can prevent a lot of potential problems. Make sure that your older loved one gets their flu shot, as the flu can be life threatening to older adults. If your loved one lives independently in their own home, make sure that they have assistance with things like shoveling snow and deicing their driveways and walkways. Heart attacks from over exertion are more common in older adults. And while snow and ice put us all at risk for falls, keep in mind the serious affects a fall can have on an older adult. Hip fractures are one of the leading causes for a move to a skilled nursing care setting.
If your loved one has a diagnosis of dementia, make sure that they are dressing adequately for the weather. Make sure that they are keeping the home at a comfortable temperature. Also ensure that they are well stocked on food and medications, and if they live alone it is important that someone is monitoring their situation regularly to see that all needs are being met.
Emotionally, this time of year can also be difficult for many people. The aftermath of the holidays can cause feelings of loneliness and “Winter Blues” combined with the symptoms of depression so many feel related to Seasonal Affective Disorder, so it is also important that we focus on our emotional health. Be sure to be aware of a loved one’s emotional well-being in addition to assessing their physical health needs and overall safety.
And a general reminder to everyone who has to travel this time of year, even short distances: Be sure to have blankets, washer fluid, emergency flares, and something like cat litter for traction in the car at all times. Also be sure to keep cell phones charged.
The staff at St. Andrew’s Senior Solutions wishes you and your family a safe and warm Winter!