- R.F Wittmeyer
- December 7, 2017
Winter can bring many health care challenges for older people. With many suffering from mobility issues, it becomes important for family, friends, and neighbors to make sure the senior citizens in their life are safe. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that you provide them with safe conditions in case they do explore outside of the home. During the winter months, ice, snow and cold temperatures can make life challenging for everyone. Specifically, slippery sidewalks and cold weather can cause a wide range of injuries and illnesses for seniors.
Lending a Helping Hand
Everyday tasks that we take for granted can become too much of a challenge for senior citizens and sometimes a safety issue–such as using a ladder. So reach out to seniors in your family and neighborhood and offer to help them with chores and activities during the holiday season.
Here are some suggestions for you:
- Offer to help put up holiday decorations or help with addressing greeting cards
- Help out with everyday house chores
- Shovel the sidewalks and driveway and put some salt down for safe walking to and from a car
- Set up their Christmas tree for them and decorate it together–maybe add some hot chocolate to the fun!
- Offer to give a ride to go shop, to an appointment or to a family event
- Take them to lunch or a movie–it’s good for everyone to get out of the house in the winter!
- Provide assistance to a family involved in full-time senior care by offering to spend some time with their loved one to allow for a needed break
- Contribute time at your local senior center or residential care facility visiting seniors and maybe bringing small gifts–many seniors do not have any visitors so this is a simple and thoughtful way to lift their spirits and show you care
- Be a companion–regularly check on your senior loved ones and neighbors and just take the time to chat or share a bowl of warm soup together.
Pay Them a Visit!
Close to 28% or 12.1 million seniors live alone. They live alone, care for themselves, or depend on a family member for help and are often short on food. Even if they are living out their golden years the best way possible, during the holidays, walk over and spend a few hours. Many experience loneliness during the holidays. A short visit can go a long way!
When you visit, make a point of actively listening when they want to talk. Sometimes, the cards and calls they may have received have bad news. Even if the discussion is negative, a compassionate conversation can help them process this information. You may also help them lift their spirits.
Lastly, when you visit, help them add decorative touches to their home or room in the long-term care facility. Brighten up their room with a little holiday cheer – especially if you made them with your family! Bring those cookies you baked with your kids and bring a smile to another person’s face.
Remove the Ice and Snow from Their Sidewalks
When you’re shoveling your own driveway, help out your neighbors when possible. Icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it easy to slip and fall. Often these falls cause major injuries such as hip and wrist fractures, head trauma and major lacerations. Additionally, while younger people often recover relatively quickly from such injuries, older adults face complications. Unfortunately, slips and falls have become a leading cause of death from injury in men and women over the age of 65.
If you or someone you love has injured themselves by falling on a slippery sidewalk or on ice, contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. for a free consultation at 847-357-0403
Make sure they wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles, and encourage them to stay inside until the roads are clear. Replace a worn cane tip to making walking easier. Add a mat and chair near the front door so that they can take off shoes as soon as you return indoors because often snow and ice attach to the soles and, once melted, can lead to slippery conditions inside.
Check Their Car
Driving during the winter can be hazardous for anyone. But it is especially dangerous for older people. Their reflexes are not as quick as they once were, consider providing them a ride if they are not going too far.
Additionally, recommend that they get their car serviced before wintertime hits — or ask a family member to bring it to a garage for them. Checking things like the oil, tires, battery and wipers can make a big difference on winter roads. Also make sure their AAA membership is up-to-date in case of emergencies.