Tuesday Tips for Caregivers – Staying Safe in Cold Weather
Hello and welcome to Tuesday Tips for Caregivers. When winter comes around, the colder temperatures bring some particular risks for older adults and people with memory loss. Seniors can lose body heat faster than when they were younger, and changes in their bodies can make it more difficult to be aware of a drop in body temperature. The result can be a dangerous condition called hypothermia.
Hypothermia occurs when a person’s core body temperature drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Even a small drop in temperature and short exposure to cold weather can develop into hypothermia. Some warnings signs of hypothermia include slowed or slurred speech; sleepiness or confusion; shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs; poor control over body movements; slow reactions, or a weak pulse.
Here is some advice to help seniors stay safe in cold weather:
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking may increase your risk for hypothermia.
- Make sure your home is warm enough. Set the thermostat to at least 68 to 70 degrees. Even mildly cool homes with temperatures from 60 to 65 degrees can lead to hypothermia in older adults.
- To stay warm at home, wear long underwear under your clothes, along with socks and slippers. Use a blanket or afghan to keep your legs and shoulders warm, and wear a hat or cap indoors.
- When going outside in the cold, it is important to wear a hat, along with a scarf, because a large portion of body heat can be lost through the head. Gloves or mittens can help prevent loss of body heat through your hands. Wear several layers of loose clothing to help trap warm air between the layers.
- Let someone know when you are going outdoors and carry a fully charged cellphone.
To contact ElderCare at Home
Contact our office at (888) 285-0093 for more information or email us below. Thanks for joining us today and we’ll see you again next week!