While a Minnesota winter offers its residents some benefits, including beautiful snow falls, numerous outdoor activities, and the opportunity to snuggle under a cozy blanket, it also presents several safety challenges for senior citizens. These cold-weather challenges include hypothermia, increased risk of falls, seasonal depression, and carbon monoxide illness or fire from improperly used space heaters.
Comfort Health, a full-service home health agency based in Rochester, MN, can assist with a variety of care-giving needs. We offer the following strategies to help you or your elderly or ill loved ones through the cold, snowy, and icy months ahead:
Dress in layers for warmth when venturing outside. Cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia, a condition where the body temperature dips too low. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of hypothermia-related deaths occur in people 65 years old or older. When venturing outside this winter, wear warm socks, a heavy coat, gloves, hat, and scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.
Keep warm indoors, too. Often, an indoor temperature that feels fine to younger or healthy people may be unsafe for those who are older or ill. Set the thermostat at 65 degrees or above and keep an extra sweater, thermal underwear, warm socks, and blanket on hand.
Avoid tripping and falling. Falls are a common occurrence for senior citizens, especially during a Minnesota Make arrangements to have driveways, sidewalks, and pathways shoveled and salted. If possible, avoid going outdoors until roads are clear. Wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles. Replace worn cane tips to make walking easier. Use hand rails or take hold of a companion’s arm for stability when walking.
Watch for signs of depression. Winter can be a time of isolation, boredom, and loneliness because it can be difficult and dangerous to get around. Check in frequently or enlist the aid of Comfort Health’s caregivers to provide companionship and assistance.
Be sure all smoke and carbon dioxide detectors are working properly. Test the detectors regularly, keep them free of dust, and replace their batteries at least once a year.
Keep a list of emergency contact numbers near the telephone, or program them into the phone.
Remember, Comfort Health’s compassionate and well-trained home health aides can provide an extra measure of security and care to keep you or your loved ones safe and comfortable this winter or any time of the year. Call 800-204-2332 today for more information.