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9 Cold Weather Tips to Keep the Elderly Loved One Safe | Companion Care UK

One of the biggest challenges for family caregivers and paid companions for elderly U.K is to keep their loved ones or patients safe from winter hazards. 

Sure, playing in the snow and making a snowman is a lot of fun when you’re a kid. But as you age, it becomes more difficult for your body to bear the cold. 

Especially if your elderly are already struggling with health conditions, such as congestion, thyroid, or arthritis, keeping them warm during cold and chilly weather can be more important than you think.

Not only illnesses but the risk of slips, trips, and falls also increases during this time. 

So what exactly can you do during winter to keep your elderly loved ones safe, sound, and healthy? Let’s find out…

1. Dress for the season

Whether you’re a family caregiver or a paid companion for the elderly, make sure you both are dressed warmly. No, we’re not asking you to make your elderly wear whatever he has in store in their cupboards. But try to bundle up with loose and comfortable layers of clothing. Wear socks, a hat (scarf), and cover with a waterproof jacket or a coat to ensure there’s no loss of heat. 

Lastly, protect your loved one’s feet with snow boots to ensure warmth and comfort. 

It’s also essential to change your elderly’s clothes immediately if they get wet. 

2. Get an HVAC inspection

Check whether your elderly’s HVAC system is in good shape. The thing is, as we age, our body’s response to temperature change reduces. Do not rely too much on space heaters as they present a trip hazard, which isn’t safe and may cause a fire if left unnoticed. 

3. Follow COVID-19 safety protocols

Seniors are at a high risk of winter-related illnesses. That includes cold and flu and various other diseases that are caused by our weakened immune systems. 

To reduce the spread of such illnesses, make sure you incorporate all covid safety protocols. Here we are talking about maintaining social distance, wearing masks, using hand sanitizers, and carrying other personal protective gear, including gloves, to ensure you and your loved ones are safe and protected. 

4. Stay indoors to prevent hypothermia

Hypothermia can be fatal for seniors because it can be difficult to tell when their body temperature is low. Remember, if our body temperature drops below 95 degrees F, we’re at an increased risk of heart attacks and liver failure. 

A few early signs of hypothermia include:

  • shivering
  • exhaustion
  • anxiety
  • cold hands/feet
  • face swelling
  • pale skin
  • drowsiness/sleepiness

Being outside in cold weather is one of the biggest reasons for hypothermia. Try to stay indoors as much as possible. Try to engage your elderly loved ones with the activities they love. For example, you can play board games, listen to music, cook together, watch movies, etc. 

Don’t forget to call your healthcare expert if you observe any early symptoms in your elderly loved one. 

5. Keep walkways clear to prevent falls

To avoid slips, trips, and falls, make sure your elderly’s walkways are always clear. According to research, slips and falls are the leading cause of fatal/non-fatal injuries in seniors. 

6. Get a flu shot

We all know the flu can be dangerous, even for the young. But did you know it can be fatal for your elderly loved one? Whether or not you have a flu outbreak in your area, make sure you get a flu shot for your elderly as soon as possible. Again, it is better to stay indoors as most winter diseases are contagious and may pose a greater risk to your senior’s life if you take them to public places or outdoors. 

7. Stock up on food/medicines

Winters are unpredictable. You never know when peaceful weather turns into something aggressive, making it tough to fetch groceries and medicines. 

Stock up some canned food and basic medicines for emergencies. 

8. Celebrate holidays virtually

Nothing is more important for seniors than spending time with their friends and family during the holiday season. There is nothing wrong with arranging a traditional family get-together for your close family member. But instead of throwing huge parties, it is better to celebrate a few occasions virtually. 

Host a group video chat and let your elderly talk about their memorable life experiences. This way, they will feel included and also stay safe.

9. Have an emergency plan handy

Always have a backup plan handy in case any emergency hits up at the last moment. If you’re a paid companion and couldn’t get a chance to check up on your elderly because of an emergency, ask a reliable family member to do it on your behalf. Similarly, if there’s any snowstorm or bad weather warning, make sure you have a plan to deal with it.