Is your elderly loved one's home ready for Fall and Winter?
Your loved one's safety is, of course, important all year long, but with the days getting shorter, colder and wetter, it's especially important to be mindful of the need to ensure their home is well lit, warm and secure.
It is common for many seniors to be more sensitive to changes in the seasons. Along with a reduced ability to regulate core body temperature, a less than an ideal diet, medications or a combination of these and other factors, they may have more difficulty in adapting to the changing weather.
Any of these challenges then can contribute to increased risk of falls and other injuries while managing both their indoor activities and the shorter daylight hours, colder temperatures and wet, slippery surfaces when moving about outside.
There are, however, a few simple, pro-active measures that can better ensure safety both inside and outside the home.
Have the heating system checked to be sure it's in good working order
If applicable, have chimneys inspected and cleaned
Check seals around outer doors and windows to ensure they are well sealed
Ensure appropriate lighting for rooms, hallways and stairs to assist with any vision challenges - especially during the seasons' dimmer daylight.
Cold weather preparedness should also be addressed at this time. The storms of Fall and Winter can bring power outages, so a bit of planning to stock up on the supplies needed to ensure your loved one has enough water, food, heat, medications, etc., will further ensure their safety if they need to ride out an extended power failure.
When out and about, it's prudent to dress in layers. In the early days of Fall, it isn't uncommon for a pattern of cooler, crisp mornings giving way to warm daytime temperatures followed by cool or cold evenings. Dressing to accommodate this fluctuation in temperatures over the course of the day will keep your loved one comfortable and warm.
Fall also means wet, slippery leaves on the ground that can become a hazard to getting about, especially if mobility is an issue. It is crucial then to ensure steps, walkways and driveways are regularly cleared of debris that could pose a slipping or tripping hazard.
For more actively independent seniors, an outing to sweep or rake leaves is, along with keeping paths clear and safe, an opportunity to get some exercise and fresh air, providing they don't have mobility issues.
With a bit of planning and minor modifications, you and your loved ones can have more peace of mind that they will remain safe and secure during the colder months.
© Nancy Glover | Aging With Grace www.AgingwithGrace.ca
Do you need help with ensuring your loved one's home is ready for BC's cold, wet weather?
Contact Nancy to inquire about a Caregiver Action Plan assessment where all aspects of care are reviewed in order to help families create a more dynamic and positive experience for the care of their loved ones.
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Nancy Glover, a healthy aging advocate, mentors extraordinary women and men who have stepped into the challenging role of caring for their elderly spouse or parent by managing their well-being in the later stages of life. Blending first-hand expertise with practical step by step systems to support the needs, goals, and desires of the elderly spouse or parent, Nancy helps caregivers maneuver the complex and often challenging role with supportive advocacy and resources that equally focus on everyone’s well-being. Learn more about her at www.agingwithgrace.ca and sign up to receive timely information and strategies to empower caregivers and families in transition.