Good preparation is key when snow and ice create new risks for your senior family member.
The winter season is almost here, and some parts of our area are already experiencing snowy conditions. In the winter, there’s no escaping the chance that inclement weather will affect your senior loved one’s living conditions.
Risks to Seniors During Inclement Weather & What to Do About Them
Snow and ice can result in power outages and slippery surfaces, along with a greater potential for carbon monoxide poisoning.
To gain peace of mind in knowing they’re safe, especially if road conditions make it impossible for you to check on them yourself, it’s a good idea to prepare for inclement weather now. Here are some of the most common risks bad weather brings for seniors and what you can do to mitigate them:
Winter snow and ice storms that knock out the power pose numerous challenges for the elderly.
For starters, no power could mean no heat. If their heater is out, they may be tempted to turn to a wood stove or kerosene fireplace. However, this also comes with a greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if the home is not well ventilated and the equipment isn’t in proper working order. Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous because it has no odor. Having enough warm clothes and blankets is a must, as power outages could last for several days at a time. This can help eliminate the need for other heat sources until the power comes back.
No power also means no light, which may increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls. Make sure your senior loved one has an accessible supply of flashlights and batteries. You may also advise them not to light candles, as this could create a fire hazard.
Stock up on non-perishable foods and bottles of water in case your loved one cannot cook due to a power outage. If your senior loved one owns medical devices, make sure the electric company knows about them so it can prioritize restoring their power. Also, make sure your loved one’s home is equipped with smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Surfaces covered in snow and ice are dangerous to seniors. If they lose their balance and fall, and no one is there to help them, they could be exposed to extremely cold temperatures for hours.
Advise your loved one to stay inside during inclement weather and wait until the snow and ice melt before going outside.
How to Help Your Senior Prepare for Inclement Weather
An emergency due to inclement weather could mean slower response times from emergency personnel. The best approach is to prevent emergencies as much as possible.
If there’s a threat of snow or ice, let your senior loved one know about it and offer guidance in the event of a power outage. If possible, shovel their walkways to reduce their chance of slipping. Having Tailored Home Care provide wellness checks or in-home care and companionship can also give you greater peace of mind during inclement weather, especially if you live far away.
With the right plan in place, your loved one can continue aging in place safely, no matter the weather.