Winter can bring many healthcare challenges for older people. There are emotional risks, such as isolation from friends and community, and also physical risks, such as falls, especially those with mobility issues or those who are homebound. At A+ Stairlifts of Pittsburgh, we understand how dangerous stairs can be and recognize that one of the biggest concerns is the loss of balance and stability as you get older. Besides installing one of our quality stairlifts, there are other measures that seniors can take during the upcoming winter season. Check out these 5 senior winter safety tips.
Keep aging loved ones safe and healthy during the winter months by following these simple winter safety tips:
Stock emergency resources in the home. Emergency kits must be easily accessible and should include water, flashlight, batteries, radio, and blankets. Seniors should have at least a seven-day supply of prescription medications and a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water on hand.
Identify and eliminate fall risks. This is a huge issue for seniors and most do not know they are at risk for falls, especially during the winter. Often they will take off their wet boots when they get home and walk around the house in stockings, which often leads to slipping. Create slip-proof paths and make sure they wear shoes or slippers that grip. Keep driveways and walkways clear of snow. Many schools offer programs where student volunteers can help shovel and salt.
Eliminate potential fire risks. Fires often start from things like overheating electric blankets or space heaters. Candles are always a risk, as well as drying Christmas trees. Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are stocked with fresh batteries and are in good working order, and fire extinguishers are readily available near stoves and fireplaces.
Dress smartly for cold weather. Encourage seniors to get out for some fresh air when possible. Layered loose-fitting clothing and water-proof gloves or mittens are best. Wearing a hat protects against heat loss, as close to half of body heat is lost through the head. Be sure they wear good traction boots or shoes to prevent slips and falls.
Establish a plan for winter emergencies. If power is lost, do you and your elder know where they will go and what they will need? Have an emergency bag packed with a change of clothing and all medical and care necessities. Have a carrier ready in case pets need to be transported with them. Go to www.redcross.org to find shelters open in the Pittsburgh area.