As the temperature outside begins to drop, it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure that seniors stay warm and safe. Snow, ice, and cold temperatures can all pose potential health risks for seniors. So, it’s essential to be prepared and seek advice from your home health aide or those who specialize in senior care in the Rockville area.
We’ve compiled a list of helpful winter safety tips from the senior care specialists at Comfort Home Care in Rockville, MD, that will help seniors make it through this winter season.
Check the Forecast Before Heading Outdoors
Rapid temperature changes can be dangerous for seniors, so checking the forecast before heading out is important. Extreme cold can aggravate certain conditions like arthritis, asthma, and heart disease and can cause frostbite if the skin is left exposed.
Check for weather-related health hazards before heading out for your appointments or errands. Heavy rains can lead to flooding, and snow storms can lead to undrivable conditions. No one wants to get stranded in these conditions.
Take Extra Care on Icy Sidewalks and Driveways
Ice is one of the most dangerous conditions during the winter. It’s essential to take extra care when walking on sidewalks or driveways. Always be on the lookout for black ice (the ice that is nearly impossible to see), and wear boots or shoes with good traction. Walk slowly and carefully to avoid slipping and falling.
There are several products on the market to help you treat icy sidewalks and driveways. Rock salt is inexpensive and will not only help melt the ice but prevent new ice from forming. Sand absorbs the sunlight, which helps melt the ice but adds traction to help prevent slips and falls.
Three household staples can also be used for icy sidewalks, and driveways
- Epsom Salt
- Kitty Litter
- Coffee Grinds
While it’s tempting to curl up on the couch and hibernate until spring, staying active during the winter is important. Exercise helps improve circulation and maintain muscle strength, which is important for seniors’ overall health and well-being. Take a walk around the block, or ask your home health aide to help you do some light exercises at home. Both are great ways to stay active when it’s too cold to go outside for lengthy periods.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Dehydration is often an overlooked health issue for seniors. Many seniors don’t drink enough fluids as their thirst diminishes with age. This can lead to fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, and confusion. During the winter months, when colds and flu are more common, drinking plenty of fluids can help thin mucus secretions relieving congestion. Water is always the best choice, but warm beverages like herbal tea, bone broths, and soups are also beneficial. Just be careful with caffeinated drinks, as they can cause dehydration.
Stay Warm Indoors and Out
Bundle up against that cold. Wearing several layers of clothing is more effective at keeping you warm than one bulky piece. Start with a layer of wool or synthetic fabric next to your skin, followed by additional layers of cotton or flannel. Wool socks, gloves, and a hat will help keep extremities warm.
Your indoor heating systems can dry out the air, so it’s a good idea to add some moisture to your home during the winter. Running a humidifier will help prevent respiratory problems like bronchitis and sinus infections.
Stock up on Supplies
During winter storms, it may be unsafe to venture out to the store for food, water, and medication. Make sure you have everything you need to last at least a week. This includes non-perishable food items and any prescription and over-the-counter medications you take regularly.
Winter can be challenging for seniors. But these simple senior home care tips can help you stay safe and healthy all season. From checking the forecast before heading outdoors to staying hydrated throughout the day, these tips will help ensure that you or your senior loved one enjoys a happy and healthy winter. Please contact Comfort Home Care today if you need senior home care for yourself or a family member in Rockville, MD.