Added on January 19, 2018 by Lucy_Wyndham
Winter can be inconvenient and uncomfortable for even the most healthy of us but bear in mind that what is just an annoying level of cold for you could be dangerous for the senior you care about. Elderly people lose body heat faster than when they were younger and are more likely to have health conditions which make being cold more serious. Here are some things to remember to keep the seniors in your life warm this winter.
You can get hypothermia without leaving your home, especially if you are old or frail. It is a sad truth that many victims of hypothermia are elderly people with inadequately heated homes.
Check that the heating in your senior's home is functioning adequately and encourage them to keep it at 68F or higher, as recommended by the National Institute for Aging for older adults. You could consider upgrading to a wifi thermostat which has three main advantages: if moving is difficult for your senior, they can turn the heating up without leaving their chair. They can set their heating to coincide with their schedule automatically and, with many systems, you can log in and check how warm their house is from afar and even adjust it for them.
Even if the heating in your senior's home is up to scratch, the rooms can still get cold due to inadequate insulation. Check for drafts and get the issues seen too. If you have gaps around the windows, you can use weather stripping or caulk to keep the cold air out. It could be a good idea to place a draft stopper in front of all doors to the outside. Bear in mind that your senior may find it difficult to do some of these tasks themselves or even do the necessary recon to locate the draft, so assistance, whether from yourself or a carer, may be necessary.
The winter is a time where it is especially beneficial to hire a live in caregiver to look after your senior. Even if your senior generally manages well unassisted it could be a good idea to hire a carer on a temporary basis to support them in during the winter months. Discuss your concerns regarding winter with the carer and set out your expectations for how warm you would like the building, how many layers you think your senior should wear and so on.
Winter can be a wonderful time and an opportunity for families to bond together. However the cold weather also brings with it certain risks for older adults. With proper preparation and good communication, you can help keep the special senior in your life safe from the cold this winter.
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