Helping Senior Family Members Stay Safe in the Fall and Winter

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The fall and particularly winter can be difficult for older people who face many more challenges than us younger, able-bodied family members whose biggest worries are finding the best pumpkin spice latte in town and wrapping up warm without adding too much bulk! It is, then, important, that we all do what we can to take care of our senior family members during the harshest time of year.


Here are some simple things you can do to help the seniors in your life stay safe during this fall/winter season:


Clear Paths and Driveways


When an elderly person falls, they are much less likely to be able to get back up again and laugh it off with nothing more than a bruise; when they fall, it’s broken bones, hospital stays and a loss of mobility they have to worry about. That’s why, during the fall/winter season, you should make a real effort to visit seniors and clear the slippery leaves, ice or snow from their driveways and paths, so that they can get around more easily.


Encourage them to Dress Warm


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It’s shocking that something as simple as a cold spell can spell the end of a person’s life. But for many seniors, the cold is no joke. In fact, around 2000 people die from conditions related to cold weather each year in the United States and a large proportion of these are elderly people. That’s why it’s important that you encourage your seniors to wear lots of layers and help them with heating materials if you can. This is particularly important if the senior in your life has Alzheimer’s and is in need of dementia care because he or she might not be quite as aware of their surroundings. If you know a senior who’s likely to struggle, do what you can to gather blankets, scarves, gloves, hats, etc. and get them to him/her.


Spend Time with Them


It’s even more important that you spend time with seniors during the cold and dark fall and winter months because many older people find it more difficult to get around during this time, which can leave them isolated. This, combined with the lack of sunlight can lead to an increase in senior depression levels. But, if you visit them regularly, and if you take them out, keep them talking, and have fun with them, this is much less likely to occur.


Get Their Car Checked


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Driving in wet, wintry conditions can be a challenge for anyone, but when you’re a senior whose reaction times and reflexes might not be all they once were, it can be even tougher. So, help them out by ensuring that their car has been checked by a professional mechanic. It should also be fitted with the right equipment to get them through the season and the kind of conditions you’re likely to experience where you are.


It’s important when helping your senior family members and neighbors stay safe during the fall and winter, that you don’t end up patronizing them in the process! They are, after all, adults and although help is usually welcome, you have to be diplomatic about how you give it!


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