Wintertime is brimming with a great deal of beauty: twinkling icicles, powdery white snow, warm, inviting fires. But it can also be laden with dangers, especially for seniors. The St. Louis home care team at Compassionate Nursing Services wants to help you keep your senior loved ones safe this winter season with the following tips:
- Prevent hypothermia. When the temperature outside dips, our body temperature can rapidly drop as well – and even more quickly for older individuals. Older adults should minimize time outside during the winter, and wear layers of loose-fitting clothing and appropriate outerwear such as gloves, an insulated winter coat, slip-proof boots, scarf and hat when venturing out. If your senior loved one shows the red flags of hypothermia (cold, pale skin, confusion and lethargy, weakness, slowed heart rate and/or breathing, difficulty walking) call 911 immediately for help.
- Prevent falls. Snow-covered walkways are, naturally, hazardous, but falls are also a risk when coming inside with snow-covered boots or shoes. Make sure walkways and stairways are clear and dry and that seniors wear sturdy, slip-resistant boots when outdoors (and that they’re removed at the entryway when returning home). There are also devices available for walkers and canes that provide additional traction for outdoor ambulation, which are safer than ordinary rubber tips.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. While they’re certainly cozy, wood stoves and fireplaces, as well as gas appliances, can leak carbon monoxide if not correctly vented. Make certain that a working carbon monoxide detector is strategically placed in your senior loved one’s home, and seek medical attention immediately if any indicators of carbon monoxide poisoning are observed: weakness, vomiting/nausea, headache, confusion, dizziness, unclear vision, or loss of consciousness. And, make sure chimneys and flues are inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once per year.
- Prevent driving accidents. Adults age 65 and older are at heightened risk for auto accidents, and even more so in difficult driving conditions. One solution to enhance safety is to partner with Compassionate Nursing Services’ professional St. Louis home care staff, who are available to provide safe, escorted transportation, or to run errands for older adults.
For more guidelines to help keep older adults safe this winter season, and throughout the year, call on Compassionate Nursing Services. We offer a free in-home safety assessment to make certain the home environment is as safe as possible, and can also suggest and coordinate any appropriate home alterations, as well as a full range of customized St. Louis home care services for seniors. Call us at 314-432-4312 to learn more!