Being a caregiver to an aging loved one can be a genuine challenge overall. However, with cold weather on its way, I felt compelled to share my insights as a professional nurse and healthcare practitioner. Lay-caregivers do an excellent job caring for loved ones; however, sometimes, they may not know all the ins and outs of what to pay attention to with the elderly. Here are suggestions for safety and wellbeing while being a caregiver during cold weather. Let start outside the home and work our way inside.
It is vital to keep the sidewalks and driveways leading to the home clear, especially if living in areas where it snows. I lived in Ohio during my formative years, and we would use salt rocks and sand to help prevent slippery walkways. I know traveling out of the home is necessary, but if you do not have to travel out during bad weather, that is a sound and solid decision. Homes that have metal railings; can be cold, so any outside support, older adults should wear gloves, hats, socks, boots, and of course, warm sweaters and coats.
Inside the home, the temperature should be warm enough to keep older adults warm and comfortable. There’s no question that skin changes with age. Older adults have skin that has thinned, so extra caution should be used. Ensure you are providing warm clothing to keep the warmth. Certain medical conditions are subject to cold weather, so inspect the skin daily, especially the hands and feet.
Are you prepared for power loss? Some medical equipment requires electricity, but what if it goes out. We experienced a significant outing in Texas, and it was not fun. Back-up power sources are a must, especially if life-saving medical equipment is in the home. Make sure heaters and furnaces are checked by professionals offering heating systems services. Finally, don’t wait until the weather turns freezing to start preparing. Speaking of freezing weather, the pipes in and out of the house must be monitored because they can freeze. Covering the pipes is necessary around the house is vital.
As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, whether your aging loved one is alone or with family, you should have information on essential winter strategies to prepare for the colder weather ahead of time. Be well! Be safe!