It’s snowing…and snowing…and snowing!
Although Houston may not be in the midst of the late-December deep freeze that has locked up the East Coast, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and help your senior prepare for winter’s weather.
Even in the absence of a huge snowfall, extreme temperatures can be a problem for our senior loved ones and friends. As we age, our ability to maintain a normal internal body temperature declines and this can leave us vulnerable to hypothermia.
The following are suggestions and tips to help our senior loved ones and neighbors prepare for winter weather.
- Fill the cupboard. Help your senior stock staples and groceries for the duration of a snowstorm or cold spell.
- Maximize energy. Encourage seniors to make sure their home in winterized and to have the fireplace and heating systems checked by a professional.
- Minimize drafts. Create draft dodgers by filling old socks with sand and placing them at door jams and window sills. Close curtains and blinds to create a thermal pocket.
- Stay toasty. Encourage seniors to add blankets and a hot water bottle. Experts advise to NEVER use electric blankets for safety reasons.
- Dress warmly. Decreased circulation requires seniors to wear extra sweaters, sweatshirts, and sweat pants during the winter.
- Monitor the thermostat. Check with your senior to make certain they are keeping the thermostat above 65 degrees during cold weather. Older adults are susceptible to hypothermia and prolonged cool indoor temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees can lead to the problem over a period of days.
- Beware of budget problems. Make certain that your senior isn’t trying to save money by keeping the thermostat too low. Houston-area utility companies offer an energy assistance program for low- and fixed-income households.
- Avoid slips. Make sure your senior has made arrangements to keep driveways and walkways cleaned.
- Stay in touch. Check on your loved one frequently during cold and wintery periods.
- Build a network. If you are a long-distance caregiver, consider building a network of help through local churches, neighbors, family or hiring outside professional help.
If you have an interesting or enlightening snow story to share, please comment on our blog.