For seniors, a harsh winter season can bring on a variety of unique challenges. In a previous blog post, the team at Senior Steps outlined a summary of our checklist for winter proofing an older relative’s home to keep them safe and prepared against severe storms, power outages, and potential leaks, as well as scheduling the necessary services such as oil deliveries and snow removals. In this article, we are bringing you some tips pertaining to the mental and physical well-being of your parents or older loved ones through the winter.
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to health issues that can arise from, or be exacerbated by, hypothermia, breathing in frigid air, or slipping and falling. In addition, for some seniors, isolation and seasonal depression can make it extra difficult to practice self-care. Having the right items easily accessible in their home and car will encourage them to keep warm, active, and healthy. Below are some ideas you can implement to help them keep their independence, health, and sanity.
Schedule a routine check-up with their doctor to assess their particular health needs and ask for a consult regarding the benefits of taking certain supplements, such as Calcium and Vitamin D, during the winter season. Stock up on any recommended medications and automate refills to ensure they don’t neglect their health during those critical months.
Buy them a nice pair of non-slip winter shoes and, if they use a cane, have the rubber tip replaced with one with better grip to prevent slipping on ice. Schedule regular snow removal services and have rock salt delivered to their home for an extra precaution.
Put together a care package that will keep them warm. Some ideas include, a warm coat, warm, waterproof boots, thermal undergarments, long underpants for layering, cozy sweaters, and a thermal to-go cup for their hot beverages. For those with memory impairments, avoid electronic heated blankets and heating pads as they can be a burn hazard.
Encourage physical activity by showing them how to access follow-along workouts on their TV or by buying them DVDs with entertaining at-home exercises tailored to their age group. As a geriatric care management company, one of the perks Senior Steps offers is regular walks, or even a drive, with our team members for our clients on clear days. It’s important to socialize, get fresh air, and include movement in an elder’s routine!
If you are new to caring for an older relative or overwhelmed by the assistance they need, please call us for a free consultation and ask for an assessment so we can put together a detailed plan of action for you to follow!