While our area may be experiencing unseasonably warm weather this fall, the winter season will be here before we know it. As we all know, winter means cold and snow, but meteorologists have just released reports indicating the 2017-2018 winter season will likely bring a much colder winter than last year. Colder temperatures translate to more freezing, frigid weather, rain and snow. For many seniors or others who have compromised immune systems, winter can present certain challenges to health and well-being. So, what can we do to prepare for the winter season, especially given that we may not be so lucky to experience another mild winter?
Seniors in the home? Make sure to prep the house for winter!
It can be extremely helpful to begin by creating a checklist of things you want to accomplish around the house before the cold arrives. Many people - especially seniors in home care and those with certain diagnoses - will spend the majority of their time indoors. Some things you may want to consider are getting your roof and heater checked and/or serviced. Another thing that is often forgotten is an occasional radon inspection (radon can build up in areas with cold winters when doors and windows are shut all the time). Having any major issues repaired before the cold arrives can mean the difference between a leak during a major storm or being stuck without heat in below freezing temperatures. Many vendors offer reduced prices in the off-season as well.
Fall prevention for seniors in the winter
Another very real concern with freezing temperatures and precipitation is that the risk of falling increases when coming and going from your home. You may want to look into finding a helper such as a family member or trusted friend for shoveling snow and salting sidewalks around your parents’ or other relatives’ home. Have a plentiful supply of salt can ensure a senior is not stuck with icy sidewalks, but be sure to safely have the salt loaded and unloaded at their home - it can be awfully heavy! Another thing to consider is hiring in home care to help a senior with getting to and from doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, etc. If weather is severe enough, it would be beneficial try to avoid or reduce the amount of travel in general.
Have a communication plan during the winter months
Having a communication plan with family, friends, and/or neighbors, especially for severe weather bouts, is a great way to ensure a senior’s safety during the winter. Set up a schedule so that someone is checking in every day, whether over the phone, going next door, video software, etc. This is also something that in home caregivers can accomplish, in addition to preparing food, light housekeeping, providing company, and other tasks that might make winter more pleasant for a beloved elder in your family.
In addition to having a communication plan, you will want to be sure that mom, dad, grandpa, etc has a supply of the basic necessity items around the home. Make sure they’re stocked up on things like non-perishable food (don’t forget the non-electric can opener), bottled water, and any medications they might need, having at least a 7 day supply. Read through this list from Life Care Planning Law Firms Association to give you some additional ideas of what might be good to have on hand.
Can Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses help your loved ones get ready for the winter?
At PAN, we strive to provide an incredibly high level of care for each of our clients. No matter the season, our exceptional caregivers are available to help Philadelphia families weather the storms of life. Enjoy the fall weather while it lasts, and please contact us today if your family is looking for caregiving help!