The winter months are filled with such an abundance of beauty: shimmering icicles, pure white snow, warm, inviting fires. But it’s also often full of risks, in particular for older adults. The Kansas City home health care team at Enhanced Home Care wants to assist you in keeping your senior loved ones safe this winter season with the following recommendations:
- Prevent hypothermia. When the temperature outside falls, our body temperature can swiftly drop as well – even more quickly for those over age 65. Older adults should limit time out-of-doors during the winter, and wear layers of loose-fitting clothes and appropriate outerwear such as gloves, an insulated winter coat, boots, scarf and hat when venturing out. If your older loved one shows the warning signs of hypothermia (cold, pale skin, confusion and lethargy, weakness, slowed breathing and/or heart rate, trouble walking) call 911 immediately for assistance.
- Prevent falls. Frozen walkways are, of course, dangerous, but falls are also prevalent when coming back inside wearing snowy boots or shoes. Ensure pathways and stairways are clear and dry and that older adults wear sturdy, slip-resistant boots when outside (and that they’re removed at the entranceway when returning home). There are also attachments available for canes and walkers that provide increased traction for walking outdoors, which are much safer than regular rubber tips.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. While they are certainly cozy, fireplaces and wood stoves, in addition to gas-powered appliances, can leak carbon monoxide if not properly vented. Make certain a working carbon monoxide detector is strategically placed in your senior loved one’s home, and get immediate medical assistance if any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are noticed: weakness, vomiting or nausea, headache, confusion, dizziness, blurry vision, or loss of consciousness. And make certain chimneys and flues are cleaned and inspected by a professional at least once per year.
- Prevent driving accidents. Adults age 65 and above are at elevated risk for vehicle accidents, and even more so in unsafe driving conditions. One option to increase safety is to partner with Enhanced Home Care’s professional Kansas City home health care staff, who are always on hand to provide safe, escorted transportation, or to run errands for seniors.
For more tips to help keep older adults safe this winter, and throughout the year, call on Enhanced Home Care. We offer a free in-home safety assessment to ensure that the home environment is as safe as possible, and can also recommend and coordinate any needed home modifications, as well as a full range of personalized Kansas City home health care services for seniors. Call us at 913-327-0000 to learn more!