As summer days have quickly dwindled to an end, now is the right time for caregivers to start thinking about how to keep aging loved ones safe during the cold weather ahead.Let’s count down a few simple yet significant cold weather safety and injury-prevention tips for seniors.
1. Lighting Matters
As the days grow shorter, so does the amount of natural light. With trips and falls a real threat for older adults, it’s critical to ensure that senior living spaces are sufficiently lit. Installing new lighting with the highest recommended wattage and night lights in high traffic areas can help aging eyes manage the decline in daylight. In addition to indoor lighting, make sure there’s also adequate lighting outside around steps, walking areas and pathways.
2. Put the Right Foot Forward
While wearing the right footwear is important throughout the year, solid shoes are particularly critical once the weather starts to turn. Everything from slick, wet leaves to the first signs of slippery snow and ice, can lead to fall and winter spills. Make sure your aging loved one is outfitted with sturdy, stable shoes designed to provide traction during inclement weather. If necessary, hire maintenance help to keep walkways and stairs free of seasonal debris.
3. Raking 101
While exercise is recommended for senior health, raking -- like shoveling snow -- can be a particularly stressful activity. If your aging loved one insists on doing yard work, encourage him to use caution while raking by taking frequent breaks for rest and hydration. If raking is beyond your loved one’s capabilities, hire extra help or look into local programs which offer leaf raking as a free service for seniors.
4. Household Checkups
For older adults who still live independently, fall is the ideal time to make sure everything from home heating systems to chimneys are inspected, clean and in good working order. Scheduling these inspections early can help you avoid discomfort or danger when the cold weather finally kicks in.
5. Driving Details
The shift from summer to fall can be hard on aging eyes too -- particularly when it comes to driving. Factor in everything from increased deer activity to the threat of slippery, leaf-strewn roads, and the need for caution becomes even more clear. Talk with your aging senior about how seasonal changes may impact his driving, and encourage him to make any appropriate modifications -- such as limiting driving to daylight hours, or making arrangements for local dial-a-ride services.
Fall is already a favorite season thanks to crisp air, glorious foliage and the many other charms of this festive time of year. Utilize these five tips to help you and your aging loved one enjoy a more safe, secure, and happier autumn.
Caregivers play a critical role in keeping seniors safe through the cold months.
Attending to weatherproofing tasks early can help seniors stay ahead of cold weather concerns.
Open lines of communication are important to understanding your loved one’s changing limitations through the changing of the seasons.
As the days get colder it may be time to consider a senior living community for your loved one. As you start touring use our free eBook as your guide.
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Connect with Marissa Salvesen
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.