Your Guide to Keeping Your Elderly Loved One Safe This Winter
Winter here in the Pacific Northwest often consists of two different weather options based on the temperature. If the temperature is moderately warm, then it is typically raining or windy; if the temperature is cold, it is either snowing, icy, sunny and cold blue skies or a combination of each.
No matter where you live, winter weather can pose several potential risks for our elderly loved ones or loved ones with limited mobility including:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Social isolation
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- The flu
In fact, a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control from 2006-2010 found that 10,639 people across the nation died as a result of weather. An astonishing 63% of these deaths were attributed to cold weather. On a scale of deaths per million, the average deaths between age 0-64 was 12 per million. For those 65 and older, the number increases exponentially to an average of roughly 50 per million.
Taking these following precautionary measures for each potential risk can drastically diminish your elderly loved ones risks this winter.
Hypothermia is defined as a drop in body temperature to less than 94.1°F. To help prevent hypothermia:
- Keep the inside temperature above 68°F.
- Dress elderly loved ones appropriately. Often layering clothing and keeping an extra blanket can help maintain body heat.
- Avoid going outside in extreme cold or windy conditions
During inclement weather conditions it is often difficult and at times dangerous for elderly loved ones to travel outside of their house. This social isolation can cause low morale, loneliness, Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) and even depression. These tips will help prevent SAD and social isolation this winter:
- Since SAD is a type of depression, medication and exercise can help reduce its effects. Light therapy can also help reduce the effects of SAD by providing patients with ultraviolet light rays that imitate the sun.
- Having a diet rich in vitamin D.
- Making transportation readily available for your elderly loved one allows them to get out and see friends, effectively reducing social isolation.
- Give your elderly loved one a pet or plant to take care of.
- Make time to visit your elderly loved one. Maybe even set up a weekly meal date.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Cold winter weather brings ice, rain, snow or sleet and can cause a simple trek outdoors to become extremely dangerous for our elderly loved ones. Slick, icy, wet or leaf covered walkways can quickly turn into a gauntlet for falls, slips and trips. Follow these tips to ensure your loved one is safe from falls and fall-related injuries this winter:
- Wear shoes that will provide an ample amount of traction
- Take small steps
- Use handrails
- Have a walking companion
- Use SmartCells Fall Protection mats or flooring
SmartCells Fall Protection mats and flooring help prevent falls and serious injury without compromising accessibility.
The unique SmartCells dual-stiffness technology provides stability for balance impaired persons and care givers, while at the same time providing life-saving cushioning to protect our loved ones when they fall.
SmartCells Fall Protection mats combine effectiveness with style and quality, including features like a low profile height (1/2”) and molded-in beveled edges which reduce tripping hazards and allow most wheeled objects to roll over the mat, without needing to move it out of the way.
SmartCells Fall Protection mats are available in a variety of colors (Black, Light Brown, and Grey) and configurations ranging from pre-sized mats (3×5 and 24×68) to build-your-own mats to fit custom-sized areas.
SmartCells Fall Protection flooring provides a cushioned sub-floor under selected commercial floor coverings.
SmartCells Fall Protection mats and flooring are made of latex-free rubber that will not absorb liquids, which reduces the risk of contamination and infection and allows them to be easily cleaned. Independent testing, using widely accepted protocols (ATSM F355 – 10a) indicates that SmartCells cushioning technology is 2 – 4 times more effective at attenuating impact forces than other products that are nearly twice as thick.
SmartCells Fall Protection: We’ll be there when you can’t be.