From snow and ice to dangerously freezing temperatures, winter is an unpredictable time of year. Help make sure the residences of the elderly and those of limited mobility are safe from hazards during the winter months. Start with these tips to ensure the homes of our older family members stay safe during the cold season.
Prevent falls. Make sure all steps and ramps into the home are clear of ice, snow, and other hazards that can cause falls. Ensure seniors have non-skid shoes and, for those who use a cane or walker, that the tips of all the legs have a non-skid rubber tip. Also, request that shoes be removed at the door when people enter the home. This will reduce the chance that snow may stick to shoes and form potentially slippery puddles inside.
Avoid fire hazards. Heating a home in winter can be expensive, and older family members often turn down the heat and employ the use of space heaters, which can present a potential fire hazard. Ensuring space heaters are at least three feet from any furniture, loose hanging clothes, or decorations and never left unattended or turned on for prolonged periods will help cut down on the risk of a blaze.
Stock up on essentials. Have an ample supply of food, water, prescriptions, blankets, and batteries for medical equipment, especially in winter, as the potential that weather could keep the elderly in their homes for extended amounts of time is increased. Keep the supplies within reach in case of emergency.
Stay warm. Though we all know it’s important to bundle up outside, it’s also important to stay warm inside the home. A few inexpensive and efficient ways to stay warm are to wear socks; safely prepare tea, soup, or other hot beverages; stretching; and plugging up any drafts are great tactics. And try these tips to stay warm without breaking the energy bank, as well.
For more tips on keeping seniors safe this winter, check out winter tips from HealthinAging.org, as well as the winter emergency checklist from the Centers for Disease Control. Please share this post with anyone you know who has the ability to help a senior stay safe this winter! [Photo via.]
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