As we find ourselves shivering as we settle into the bitter cold of winter, it’s a whole other ballpark of problems as we get older. Keeping warm in winter becomes a challenge at a senior age, as our bodies tend to not feel the effects of cold weather immediately. This can be particularly dangerous with clients living with diabetes, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s, arthritis or dementia/memory loss.
Here is some advice to ensuring seniors in your life, whether you are a family member or carer, follow to ensure they are warm and safe during winter.
Keeping safe and warm at home
There is nothing better than being comfortable and toasty at home during winter. To keep the home warm enough for a senior:
- If there is a thermostat, make the temperature somewhere around 22 degrees
- Ensure windows are shut to avoid cold breezes entering the home.
- Keep doors of rooms not in use closed to make heating solutions more effective.
- Check that there are no additional drafts coming through the home – take note of door and window frames. This may require a repair being scheduled if any are letting cold air in.
- Get additional blankets for the client to have in the living room and bedroom so that they can have additional warmth over their legs.
- Seniors should be dressing warm, even with the heating on, whilst ensuring they are comfortable and able to move and do things.
- Fireplaces, electric blankets and portable heaters may be enticing, but it’s important to be aware that they are a fire hazard and should be used in moderation. Seniors may not be able to escape a fire as quickly and may even forget that these are on. Blankets with timers may be a good option, however it’s vital that these are always laid flat when in use.
- Ensure they are being checked on regularly. This may require collaboration between family, neighbours, carers and other people in their life.
Keeping safe and warm when outside
As nice as it would be to stay inside all the time during winter, we have to venture out to get things done, such as groceries and visiting doctors. Staying safe outdoors will require:
- Appropriate dressing for the conditions. If it’s raining, wear waterproof clothing to ensure that your body remains dry and take an umbrella. If it’s cold, wear plenty of loose layers, which help keep heat around the body.
- Additional items like a hat and scarf are important as they keep the neck and face warm – an area where body heat can be lost if uncovered!
- Ensure shoes with plenty of grip are worn to avoid slipping on wet surfaces.
- Long socks are great under trousers to keep legs warm.
- When returning home, change your clothes if they got a little wet or extremely cold.
With these points in mind, seniors can be safe and warm during the winter. It is of the most importance that they are regularly checked on during these colder seasons. Vital Home Health Services roll out all necessary checks to ensure that our senior clients remain safe, warm and healthy in the comfort of their own home and are prepared when taken outdoors.
It is extra important we take precautions right now as well, so we work to overcome the pandemic. Keep up-to-date with our Covid updates here.
Do you or a loved one need extra care at home this Winter? Contact us with any enquiries today.