During the winter months, ice, snow and cold temperatures can make life more difficult for everyone, but especially so for seniors.
Slippery roads, driveways and power outages can cause a wide array of injuries and illnesses. Preparing for a winter storm means taking action before it strikes. A few simple steps can ensure your loved one is able to ride out the storm in safety and comfort at home.
Avoid slipping on the ice–Wearing proper winter gear like boots with traction and non-skid soles can help prevent falls on icy surfaces. If you must venture outside, make sure any walking assist device, like a cane or walker, has sturdy tips on the end to help support body weight. Sprinkle ice-melt (salt) outside of main entrances to the home to help prevent falls.
Dress warmly– When sub-zero temperatures and wind chills hit, hypothermia and frostbite become very real dangers for seniors. Avoid staying outdoors for prolonged periods of time and if you absolutely must go out, then wearing a hat, scarf, gloves, thick socks with boots and a heavy winter coat are a must and can help protect against the harsh elements.
Be prepared for power outages– Often times, severe weather is accompanied by loss of power that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. To make sure you’ll be able to manage during such times, having a few simple items on hand will ensure safety until power is restored. This includes a flashlight with fresh batteries and a few candles as back-up…just in case. Keeping a charged cellphone nearby for emergencies, dressing in layers and using blankets for extra insulation as well as having plenty of non-perishable food on hand will make riding out the storm that much easier.
Managing in the storm’s aftermath— Once the storm has passed, there will likely be mountains of snow left in its wake, making leaving the home extra challenging for seniors. Shoveling snow and clearing major paths to the home can be a physically demanding task which few seniors should attempt. Enlisting the services of a snow removal service might come in handy for such events. Driving might also be challenging in the immediate aftermath of the storm. It’s a good idea to have a trusted friend or relative assist with transportation needs until driveways and major roads are cleared.
Although we cannot control Mother Nature’s whims, we can always be one step ahead of whatever she decides to throw our way by being prepared!