Keeping Seniors Safe From Cold
Because skin and blood vessels change with age, older adults face dangers of hypothermia — even indoors. Here are tips for caregivers to help elders stay warm this winter:
- Keep the home properly heated at a temperature of 68 F to 70 F.
- Winterize windows and doors with weather stripping and caulk.
- Dress the senior in warm layers that can be removed if he or she gets too hot.
- Make sure the senior wears a hat, scarf and gloves when going outside.
- Have the senior change out of damp or wet clothes right away.
- Help the senior practice sound nutrition to fuel the body’s heat and energy sources.
- Encourage the senior to avoid alcohol consumption, which can trigger heat loss.
- Learn the temperature-lowering effect of specific medications and over-the-counter drugs.
- Devise an evacuation plan in case of a power outage or the furnace/heat source breaks down.
For information about cold weather safety for older adults, contact Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 (toll-free) or https://eldercare.acl.gov, or the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging at 202-872-0888, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.n4a.org.