The holidays are a wonderful time of year when families and friends come together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Then, within a few weeks, the festivities continue with Christmas, Chanukah and New Year. Yet, what many family members don’t realize is that the winter months present serious, possible health and safety hazards for the seniors they love.
Winter weather can result in isolation, falls, poor nutrition and a greater risk for heart problems, pneumonia, infections and other serious challenges for your loved ones.
“After the holidays have ended, isolation can become a major issue. Then, add in the ice and snow and even highly active seniors may suddenly find themselves unable to go out wherever they wish,” said Bob Tucker, a qualified dementia care provider (QDCP) and a co-owner of the Northbrook-based Senior Helpers office serving the north and northwest Chicago area. “Some get depressed, have a poor appetite and even skip meals. In addition with the time change, it gets dark in the late afternoon making it difficult for some seniors to drive to visit friends and relatives and participate in regular social activities. Others may find the weather makes it difficult to get out for their doctors’ appointments.”
Tucker recommends that adult children should reassure their elderly parents, they can still see friends, run errands make their appointments and be involved in the activities they enjoy. However, they may need a friend, family member or professional caregiver to assist them in getting out safely.
Walking outdoors in late fall and winter can be treacherous for anyone, especially seniors. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injuries for people aged 65 and older. Because many seniors have impaired vision, they may not see the snow and ice in their path. In addition, adult children need to be aware that cold and cough products, sleeping aids and anti anxiety pills can also affect their loved ones’ balance. Physical problems such as osteoporosis, hip and knee problems, injuries and weakened muscles can put a senior at risk for falls as well.
Senior Helpers co-owner Abbie Tucker, believes there is another serious health issue for seniors in the winter. “Heart attacks spike as much as 53% during the winter months. Arteries constrict in the cold weather. This makes the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. This also can result in high blood pressure problems.”
Bob explained the business provides caregivers and personal assistants who can provide services-including driving, if need be. “Being isolated in their home for weeks or months at a time can be very debilitating and even dangerous,” he said.
Abbie, a certified senior advisor and qualified dementia care provider said that people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia may wander outside, poorly clothed and get lost. Even a short distance from their home can result in a life-threatening situation.
For more information about senior safety, to arrange a personal review of your family’s situation or to request the help your loved one needs with an in-home caregiver or personal assistant, call Bob Tucker at Senior Helpers: 847-564-7500, or email him at email@example.com. Visit seniorhelpers.com.