6 Essential Winter Safety Tips for Seniors
The outside temperatures are dropping quickly and that means a snowy, icy winter is on its way. As we get older, we become more susceptible to the challenges of this season, so it’s important for seniors to do a little extra preparation to stay safe and healthy over the winter. Here are six tips for older adults from our home care services team in New Jersey:
- Reduce Winter Fall Risks – Falls are incredibly dangerous for seniors, and the ice and cold conditions of winter make falls during this season very common. Check your loved one’s winter wardrobe and make sure pants, skirts, and dresses are the right length. Check winter shoes to ensure that they have a sturdy tread. If your loved one likes wearing house slippers, these should be checked to make sure they have a stable rubber grip. If you live nearby, volunteer to clear their steps or pathway outside their home to get rid of ice, or ask a neighbor to assist.
- Stock the Shelves and Medicine Cabinet – This is especially important when a storm is on its way. Pop over with enough food and essentials to last five to seven days, including fresh and canned goods, water, over-the-counter medicines, and prescription medication. Check that their emergency kit is stocked with a working flashlight and spare batteries, a whistle, and a warm blanket, and place it somewhere easy to reach.
- Keep the House Warm – Seniors can lose body heat quickly and are less likely to sense that their body temperature is dropping. While many seniors are on a tight budget, it’s recommended that thermostats are set at 68 degrees throughout winter. You can help keep energy bills down with some small home improvement projects, including closing vents in unused rooms, sealing around windows and doors, and replacing your furnace filter at the start of every heating season. A dirty filter sends particles into the air that contribute to winter illness.
- Banish the Space Heater – Space heaters are incredibly dangerous and expensive to run. So, it’s best to get rid of them. They are a leading cause of house fires, often caused by flammable furnishings, blankets or curtains that brush up against them unnoticed.
- Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors – Seniors are especially vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, be sure to test detectors and make sure there’s a working detector on each floor of the home. Carbon monoxide, a common byproduct of less efficient furnaces and heating systems, is called the silent killer because it is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-irritating. Optimally, hire a home heating professional to make an onsite service visit during the fall.
- Stay in Touch – Whether you are close enough to visit or whether you call, it’s important to check in on a regular basis. Winter can be a time when many seniors are vulnerable to isolation and depression, so social contact can do a lot to keep seniors connected and active. It’s also a good idea to keep in contact with a few of your loved one’s neighbors so that they can also check in on occasion and make sure everything is alright.
For Peace of Mind, Choose the Best Home Help Services for the Elderly in NJ
At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best home health aide services in New Jersey through our HomeWorks program. This program is dedicated to assisting seniors in the comfort of their own homes and providing them, their families, and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness, and independence.
For more information on our at-home health care agency or our residential in-home respite care in NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at https://umcommunities.org/homeworks/elderly-home-health-care-nj/.