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Preparing Your Senior Parents for the Winter

Preparing Your Senior Parents for the Winter

Preparing Your Senior Parents for the Winter

Snowflakes and shimmering icicles disguise the actual dangers of the winter season. Beyond the breathtaking beauty of winter, this season holds many hazards for people aged 65 and over. Families are urged to prepare their elderly parents for the upcoming winter.

1. Prevent Hypothermia Indoors

The aging process causes changes in the body that make it difficult for seniors to be aware of getting cold. Hypothermia can set in when the body’s temperature becomes significantly lower. Heart attacks and kidney problems can arise when a senior’s body temperature drops to below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cold temperatures, whether inside a house, apartment or other type of building, can trigger a dangerous bout of hypothermia. Families can prevent elderly parents from the effects of a cold household by maintaining the indoor heat between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Provide seniors with socks and slippers to wear at home during the winter months. Offer Mom and Dad blankets to throw over their legs. While asleep on winter nights, seniors should wear a hat or cap, as well as long underwear beneath the pajamas, for extra warmth.

2. Prevent Hypothermia Outdoors

When aging parents go outside during the chilly winter days, families should ensure the seniors dress in layers of warm, loose clothing. Wearing a hat and scarf prevents body heat from escaping. In snowy weather, a waterproof jacket or coat is advised.

Certain illnesses can make it more difficult for an elderly person to stay warm. Normal body temperatures are harder to maintain when an individual suffers from thyroid disease. Seniors with Parkinson’s disease or arthritis will struggle to put on more clothes or escape the cold.

Similarly, conditions that affect memory, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, can cause a senior to go outdoors in the winter without the right amount or type of clothing. Adult children must ensure their elderly parents wear proper winter clothing to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.

3. Shovel the Sidewalks

Seniors will check the mail or walk to the car in wintry conditions. Walking on an icy sidewalk can lead to falls and severe injuries, like broken bones, or being left unattended for hours. Families decrease the risk of falls by shoveling and salting the parents’ sidewalk.

4. Winterize the Vehicle

Driving in inclement weather should be avoided whenever possible. Yet, elderly parents may insist on driving. Families should winterize the senior’s car by checking (and replacing, if necessary) the antifreeze, tires and windshield wipers. Stock the car with emergency supplies.

5. Hire Transportation Services

An alternative to seniors driving in snowy conditions is hiring transportation from a home care agency. Adult children who hire a professional caregiver will rest assured that their parents will have safe transportation while being accompanied by an attentive professional.

6. Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Heating sources, such as natural gas and kerosene, are commonly used during the winter months. However, gas and wood stoves and fireplaces can leak dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide—a noxious gas that is invisible and impossible to detect by smell. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly.

Prior to each winter, adult children should have their elderly parents’ fireplaces inspected. Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors in the seniors’ home, especially near the fireplace and wood stove. Instruct the parents to never use stoves or grills that are unintended for home heating.

7. Prepare for Power Outages

Old Man Winter can send blizzards that temporarily shut down power. Families should prepare their elderly loved ones for possible outages by stocking the pantry with nonperishable foods that can be eaten cold and ensuring the seniors have an extra supply of medications.

Fully charge the parents’ cell phones and make sure they have access to them at all times. Assemble an emergency kit. Fill the kit with first aid supplies, warm blankets, batteries, and a flashlight. Include a weather radio so that elderly parents receive updates about local weather conditions.

8. Schedule a Flu Vaccine

Seniors’ immune systems naturally weaken with age, making them more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Viruses also travel more easily from one person to another during the colder months. Adequate preparation for the winter means seniors should get appropriate vaccinations.

Consider scheduling an influenza vaccine for Mom and Dad just prior to the start of flu season, after consulting with their doctor. A flu vaccine offers seniors significant protection against the infection. A high-dose flu vaccine, which is specially designed for older adults, is recommended by health experts.

Winter weather in the Midwest is often severe. Wisconsin snowfalls average 44.8 inches, and January temperatures can plummet to below freezing. Seniors who live in The Badger State will stay warm and safe with extra support, whether from families nearby or professional caregivers.

Home Care Milwaukee Wisconsin

Families, especially those who live far away, may not be able to monitor Mom and Dad during the winter months. In such cases, senior care from Assisting Hands Home Care is invaluable. We prepare seniors for the winter and protect their health, safety, and overall well-being.

As a reputable home care agency, Assisting Hands Home Care is experienced in managing all nonmedical aspects of senior care. Professional caregivers meet the needs of care recipients in the comfort of home. Routine services include help with all the activities of daily living.

Caregivers from our home care agency provide safe transportation, such as to doctors’ offices or social events. We prepare balanced meals, which are important for maintaining a healthy bodyweight in winter. Responsibilities include light housekeeping, help with hygiene tasks, and medication reminders.

Assisting Hands Home Care services are flexible and comprehensive. We are available for 24-hour care, respite care, compassionate memory care, and a host of additional care options. Countless families rely on our highly rated services for the best in senior care.

If your aging loved one lives in the communities surrounding KenoshaWaukeshaFranklin, Milwaukee, West AllisLake Geneva, Wisconsin, choose Assisting Hands Home Care. We provide quality home care services designed to promote the health and well-being of the seniors we serve. Call us at (262) 510-0905 to schedule an in-home consultation today.