While winter is a time for hot chocolate and silly hats for some people, it can also cause many problems for seniors living in St. Louis. Follow these tips to ensure your loved one stays safe this winter.
Stay Warm as Temperatures Drop
Keeping your loved ones warm is about more than just comfort; hypothermia is a real risk for seniors. Dress warmly in layered, loose-fitted clothing that covers as much skin as possible, and don’t neglect the use of hats and scarves for extra protection. In addition, check all windows and doors for cracked or worn sealants. These steps will ensure that the heat stays inside the home and the cold stays out.
Keep Track of St. Louis Weather Trends
St. Louis winters can be unpredictable. A relatively warm morning can be followed by an afternoon of heavy snows and no St. Louisian will blink an eye. Therefore, always check the weather before leaving your home. If your loved one drives a car, stash some extra winter clothes (a hat, a scarf, gloves, etc.) in the back seat or trunk in case the temperature drops unexpectedly.
Avoid Bad Weather Injuries & Accidents
Walking and driving become far more dangerous during the winter. While St. Louis is relatively good at keeping major roads plowed and salted, ice can still appear and cause hazards for seniors.
Slipping is a much more serious problem for seniors. Younger people can usually bounce back relatively quickly when they fall, but seniors can face major injuries like hip fractures or head trauma. In addition to general caution, you can help prevent falling by encouraging seniors to:
- Wear shoes with good traction
- Replace a cane tip if it is worn down
- Take off their shoes when they come home (melted ice can cause wet, slippery floors)
Driving on icy roads can also cause problems. Many older adults do not have the same reflexes they did when they were younger and therefore it’s essential to make sure their car is as safe as possible. Be sure their car is serviced so that their tires, battery, oil level, and wipers are all functioning and up to code. If you believe your loved one should not be driving, consider talking to them about senior driving tests.
Fight Wintertime Depression
Cold weather, limited mobility, and loneliness are all factors of the holiday blues. Make the extra effort to ensure your loved one is cared for and appreciated during the winter. A senior’s mood can greatly affect their overall health and quality of life.