It can be unpleasant and sometimes dangerous for seniors to feel chilly. Seniors are susceptible to both extreme heat and cold than younger adults. During the winter season, this puts them at high risk for catching hypothermia, a known serious fatal condition. Seniors don’t have to be exposed to below-freezing temperatures that can determine developing hypothermia. A cold environment can cause a drastic drop in temperature of a senior’s body.
Keeping seniors safe and preventing them from getting hypothermia are major roles of home care services especially during the coldest days of winter. Although there are many caregivers, I’d like to emphasize a specific caregiver in San Antonio that can keep your loved one safe during cold weather. You may also look for some realistic ideas about how to keep seniors warm and safe at home.
1. Keep the house comfortably warm
The most important component in keeping the seniors warm is the indoor temperature of the house. It is vital that the house is adequately heated. Most seniors may want to save money on their heating bill by lowering the thermostat, however, this is not a good idea. Hypothermia can be acquired at surprisingly high temperatures, and saving money won’t be worth it.
2. Block leaks or drafts from coming into the house
Having drafts can make your well-heated house feel chilly. To maintain the room temperature, look for any leaks around the house and by all means, block them. Look for gaps under doors, cracks around windows, even mail slots. These are a common outlet of leaks. Install a door sweep or place a rolled-up towel against the door to prevent the draft and leak from coming in. If you think that the windows are getting a leaking heat, install insulated drapes and keep them tightly closed during very cold weather.
3. Clothe seniors in warm clothes
Seniors love to feel perfectly snug. Have them wear layers of clothing to avoid shivers. Allow seniors to wear multiple layers of clothing every day. For example, encourage them to wear thermal underwear made of wool or silk material for their everyday clothing, and a thick sweatshirt or thick sweater for them to bundle up on a cold weather. They can always take the layers off when they feel too warm. Have them wear a comfortable hat. It can be a good idea for seniors who are prone to chills.
4. Take advantage of the warmest rooms
Most residences have warm and cold rooms. Seniors can take advantage of the warm spaces during the winter. If a senior’s favorite spot in the house suddenly gets cold, help them get up and set up a temporary warm area for them.
5. Senior’s nutritious food
Ensure that the seniors are well fed and have enough nutritious food. Many seniors don’t eat as much as they could. It is important that they are getting enough nutrients and calories to help them regulate their body temperature. Help seniors attain warm body temperature by cooking healthy food. This will also encourage seniors to eat enough and excite their appetite. Try making healthy casseroles and stews. Comfort food during winter can be a big hit for seniors. Get them warm up on cold days with warm drinks like tea.
6. Get seniors active throughout the day
Moving around can help seniors stay warm and fit. Sitting down for a long period can cause the senior’s body temperature drop, so get the seniors into the hype for them to stand up and move around if they are able to and if they are allowed. In regular days, you may help them bundle up and go for a short walk around the neighborhood. If it’s cold and shivering outside, encourage them to play with a pet, do some mild stretches or even help in the kitchen.
7. An annual check-up of the heating system
A regular maintenance of heating system should be done every year. Help seniors to have their heating systems inspected every year, and it is preferred to have this done before the cold weather breaks in. With regular maintenance, the heating system will work efficiently and will less likely to break in the middle of the winter.
8. Know the symptoms of hypothermia
No matter how careful seniors are, it is still important to stay alert for the signs and symptoms of hypothermia in seniors. Some seniors can’t tell whether they are already getting hypothermia because of the slow symptoms of it. So as a home caregiver, be the first to inform them and give them defense against the condition. Some obvious symptoms of hypothermia you should look out for include:
- Disorientation or confusion
- Frequent drowsiness
- Slow breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- A weak or slow pulse
Freezing temperatures are a real health hazard for seniors. Many seniors struggle to stay comfortable and warm during the winter. During cold months, it is vital for the family members and caregivers to understand the real danger of hypothermia to seniors and how to keep them healthy and fit during the cold season. Indeed, home care services can play such an important role in keeping seniors warm and cozy.