5 Winter Caregiving Tips

By December 17, 2015Aging in Place

Winter is here once again! During these months of cold, snow, and sleet, it is all the more important to make sure seniors are happy, healthy, and safe. Trips and falls are always a danger for those with weak legs, or troubled balance; the addition of ice and snow can make it even more hazardous to remain upright.

Completing simple tasks such as taking out the trash or picking up medications can become increasingly difficult because of snowbanks and ice. The onset of darkness creeps earlier into the day and can contribute to depression or drowsiness which can lead to accidents in the home. Review these few safety tips to keep seniors safe during the winter.

Visit frequently!

Seniors with regular caregivers and a social network feel less isolated during the cold months of the year. A familiar face stopping in frequently can boost the spirits and if they arrive with a warm meal in hand, even better!

Prevent accidents!

Be diligent in shoveling and careful with the use of space heaters. As snow builds up in the walkway and the driveway, it’s difficult to walk through and hard to see the street. Seniors need to be especially careful when walking on icy paths to avoid turning a trip to the grocery store into a trip to the hospital. Ensure that paths regularly used by seniors are shoveled and de-iced. Inside the home, pay special attention to the location of space heaters. Make sure they are not positioned too closely to a curtain or upholstery to avoid fires.

Ensure medications are taken!

The long, dark days of winter can easily make a senior depressed or lonely. This decline in mental health can lead to apathy which will reveal itself either by a lack of interest in hobbies, forgetfulness or increased sleep. Forgetting to take medications is common, and it’s important to make sure that seniors are getting their medicine on time, every time. This is a simple yet extremely important step in helping seniors to feel their best during Winter months.

Provide transportation!

While some seniors may simply forget to take their medications, others may not be able to buy them in the first place. Providing transportation so a senior can get to a pharmacy or doctor’s office will make the senior’s life easier and their health better.

Pull out extra blankets!
This one is simple. It’s not uncommon for seniors to have a lot of things packed away, and sometimes there’s just too much stuff on top of extra blankets to realize they are there. Or perhaps the blankets are on a high shelf in the closet that the senior can’t reach. Winter is a good time to dig out blankets and place them around the house – on a chair, a couch, or by the bed. Once they are within reach they are more apt to be used.

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Author LivHOME

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