Winter weather conditions can cause diseases, sicknesses, hypothermia, frostbite, and most commonly, slips and falls on ice. However, not only does the winter bring physical threats for senior’s health, but also seasonal emotional risks as well. According to Psychology Today, Seasonal Affective Disorder will affect those who live in darker climates. When winter comes around in some areas, it starts to get darker even earlier. Less sun and light can cause serious depression.
With all of these hazards ahead, it’s important that caregivers for their elderly loved ones prepare ahead of time. Taking precautions will alleviate stress, reduce risks of depression and allow our loved ones to enjoy this season and all it’s festivities to the fullest.
Not only do we need to plan for the physical threats, but also for the emotional stressors for your loved one. You can do this by:
- Making sure there is efficient lighting in the house.
- Stock up on groceries for the winter to avoid having to take many trips.
- Make sure there is plenty of Vitamin-D (from lack of sunlight and being outdoors).
- Make sure your loved one has enough warm clothing and blankets.
- Purchasing shoes that have non-slip soles to prevent slips and falls on ice.
- Prepare their vehicle ahead of time for the harsh weather (oil, tires, wipers, etc.)
- If they have a fireplace, get it inspected during the fall.
- If they don’t have a fireplace, make sure to have working and available space heaters.
- Make sure space heaters are at least 3 feet away from anything that could catch fire.
Your elderly loved one might not express what they need during this time. In fact, they might not even know what they need. Over communication and checking in with them is crucial for their health and safety.
During the winter, most aging adults confine themselves to the comfort of their homes. Being sedentary is a critical risk to the elderly’s heart. However, it can be difficult to find ways to stay active for them. After really knowing what your loved one’s capabilities are, try to find some ways they can keep up their physical activity during the winter. Here are some suggestions for seniors to stay active:
- Purchase exercise equipment to use in their home such as dumbbells, ankle weights, and athletic bands.
- Consult with a personal trainer or doctor for some exercises that they can do independently or with a caregiver at home.
- Make a goal for them to walk around the house every two hours, just to ensure they are still moving. Walking will also help with body warmth.
Seniors deserve to enjoy the winter season despite the physical and emotional risks that come along with the season. Prepare ahead of time so they can feel ready for the upcoming holidays!