As magical as a winter wonderland can be, it also has the potential to make our older loved ones vulnerable. Keep the magic of winter alive for seniors by helping them prepare for and manage the short days and long nights of winter safely.
Even when indoors, seniors need to keep warm by dressing in layers and heating the house. Be sure to have a working carbon monoxide detector. Eating well, including a variety of foods and plenty of Vitamin D (which can be low due to lack of sunlight exposure) is essential. Arrange visits with your loved ones who can become isolated, lonely and even depressed in these darker months (we can help you with that at SOSsitter!) And if you cannot visit as often as you would like, be sure to have regularly scheduled calls.
Make sure that there are arrangements in place to clear the path to the front door of ice and snow so there are no slip hazards. If your older loved one is still driving, you might need to agree a ‘no drive’ rule for when the roads are bad, coupled with some alternative arrangements for getting food and attending appointments. When the road conditions do allow driving, make sure the car is ‘winterised’. And of course, hats, gloves, warm coats and boots are always important.
When the weather outside is really frightful, you need to have plans in place for emergencies. Sources of light (flashlights), heat (extra layers / blankets), food (non-perishables for extreme cases), and communication (battery-operated radios, charged up phone) are important. You should also have agreed some plans – such as making sure your loved one continues to move to keep body temperatures up and how to use the tools above.
Once our older loved ones are well prepared for the cold ahead, we can really sing with gusto: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!