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Cold Weather 101: How to Keep Seniors Warm During the Winter
As the weather grows chillier, caregivers everywhere are tasked with a common quandary: how can I keep my aging loved one warm this winter?
Although a little cold weather may be a nuisance to a healthy adult, it can be especially dangerous for an elderly individual. This is because seniors do not produce as much heat as their younger counterparts. When you add a senior’s predisposition towards pre-existing illnesses and side effect laden medications, cold weather becomes a potential for something sinister.
Thus, for home health aides and caregivers alike, it’s essential to know the basic foundations for keeping seniors warm during the winter. A caregiver takes on the responsibility of professionally caring for an individual, as well as the liability. Knowing how to care for someone during the winter months is important not just for the patient, but also yourself, your license, and your pockets. Knowing how to prevent slip and fall accidents or medical negligence is very important for a caregiver to properly do his or her job. Here are some tips for a home health aide.
For caregivers, preparation is key.
To truly master the cold weather, it’s imperative to always be informed. Have a weather app on standby that lets you know the projected temperature and fluctuations. Make certain to account for weather events that can alter the feel of the weather, such as rain, sleet, or wind chill.
Equipped with this knowledge, caregivers can better schedule their aging loved one’s day. They can master which days are safe for an outdoor stroll and which are better spent inside.
When in doubt, bundle up!
Sometimes, the best defense against cold weather are layers! If seniors are armed with layered clothing, they can better insulate their cores and trap precious heat. Caregivers should try to incorporate multiple lightweight fabrics such as wool, silk, or polypropylene. Fabrics like this will trap more heat than cotton, and allow the senior to shed layers as needed.
The goal is for the elderly individual to be able to adjust to their body temperature. If they become too hot, they can shed a layer without fluctuating to too cold.
Once you have your lightweight layers, you can add a jacket and outerwear. Make certain to have the outerwear near the main exit and in an easily accessible location. Point this space out to the aging loved one, as well as any helpers or home health aides.
Keep the home warm.
In the face of the winter chill, caregivers need to ensure that senior homes are warm and insulated. This means setting the heat to 68-70 degrees and ensuring that the heater is able to maintain that temperature range. It entails checking windows, doors, and vents for chilly drafts.