Those of us who stay up north from December through March comes know that we’re in for a difficult few months. For senior citizens, this season can be even rougher, as they face a greater risk of accidents, injuries and health problems.
Since we’re an organization devoted to elder care in Bucks County, we thought we’d offer a few senior winter safety tips to make the next few months more manageable.
- Keep your home well-stocked with non-perishable foods and staple items. This will keep you well-stocked during a storm – meaning that you won’t need to go out – and ensure that you have enough food/groceries in case you lose power.
- Stay warm at home by dressing in layers. Avoid electric blankets, as they can cause burns and raise your body temperature to a level that isn’t healthy. If you need to stay warm in bed, add a few extra blankets or a hot water bottle.
- If you have a fireplace or gas heater, make sure you also have a working carbon monoxide detector. You should replace the batteries in CO detectors – and smoke alarms – every six months (when you set the clocks back/forward).
- Be careful using other heat sources. If you have a kerosene stove, open a window when it’s in use. Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can catch fire, and never attempt to use your oven to heat your home.
- Conserve heat by keeping doors closed in rooms that aren’t in use and closing your curtains at night. You can also block cold air by installing weather stripping around doors and windows.
- Dress for the weather when you head outdoors: warm socks, a hat, gloves and a heavy coat.
- Falls are all too common for seniors during the winter month. Make sure your shoes have good traction and non-skid soles. If you use a cane, be sure the tip has good traction as well. Take your shoes off when you come inside, as melted ice and snow can lead to slippery floors, creating another fall hazard indoors.
- Get help clearing your sidewalk and/or driveway. If you aren’t up to the task, don’t go it alone. Ask a family member or neighbor for help, or hire someone to shovel for you.
- When the weather gets bad but you still need to go out, ask a relative or neighbor to take you. You’re better off seeming overcautious than risking an injury.
- Pennsylvania’s treacherous winter road conditions make driving an issue for people who care about elder care in Bucks County. Prepare your car for winter. Have your mechanic check the oil, battery, wiper fluids and the wipers themselves. Sign up for a roadside assistance plan, and keep blankets and an emergency kit in your trunk.
- Nutritional deficits can develop during winter. We’re spending more time indoors – which means we’re not getting vitamin D from the sun – and eating a less varied diet. During the winter, try to consume foods that contain vitamin D: salmon and tuna, milk, and grains.
- Winter can be a depressing time, especially for older people. It’s more difficult to get around, and this can lead to feelings of isolation. If you have senior citizens in your life, check in on them as often as possible. Seniors can also set up a check-in system with friends and neighbors.
If you need guidance on elder care in Bucks County, know that Newman Elder Law can help. We can help you plan for the future of your elderly loved ones to ensure that they are prepared for the financial hurdles that are common late in life.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you and your family with asset protection, veterans benefits and special needs planning. We hope that you and your loved ones stay warm and safe this winter.