Senior Home Health: Winter Season Tips

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posted by Ryan Whittington on November 04, 2010

My name is Lydia and I am a nurse at Seniors Home Care.  I find great joy in helping to create a plan of care that is most appropriate and customized for each client.  I also make sure each client receives the best possible care.  This is achieved through constant communication with caregivers, clients, client families (when appropriate) and other professionals in the community. Lets face it, situations change and communication is key.  I would like to talk a little bit about having a safe winter.

I have just returned from visiting my children and grandchildren in sunny California.  Now it's time to prepare for the winter months in St. Louis.  I always think of the elderly during this time of the year and ways they can stay safe and warm.  There are three major things that the elderly need to prevent. They are: Flu, Hypothermia, and Falling. 

In this article, I will outline each risk, and provide some helpful solutions.


Under normal circumstances, a 65 degree day in St. Louis may not necessarily be cold, however if a senior is not prepared serious problems can exist.  Hypothermia begins slowly and when a persons body temperature falls below 94 degrees, hypothermia sets in.  These are some common symptoms to look for:

  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Slow breathing
  • Increased irritability
Ways to prevent hypothermia:
  • Eat nourishing meals
  • Drink warm beverages
  • Have your furnace checked and cleaned
  • Stay warm during the day and night. Use extra blankets if necessary

Slips and Falls

Many people fall in their home each day.  It is a common occurance.  Most falls result in a bump or bruse however there are situations where a fall causes permanent injury or even death.  When dealing with the elderly, it is important to do everything you can to minimize potential falls.

Here are a couple of tips I have for you:
  • During the snow/ice season, have help shoveling show and applying salt to ice.
  • Consider wearing a medical alert button
  • Have emergency numbers within reach

For more information on falls, please see our blog Home Care Talk: Senior Falls.

Flu Prevention

Every fall there is a huge amount of talk about the "Flu Season".  Lately there has been a lot of talk about Swine Flu.  Seniors and those with chronic diseases are at most risk when talking about the flu.

To help aviod the flu this season follow these simple suggestions:
  • Receive the flu vaccine annually
  • Eat three regular meals and drink 6-8 glasses of water every day.  Consult your physician or a dietitian for special dietary requirements.
  • Use good handwashing techniques and use antibacterial soap.
  • Don't share your food or drinks with anyone
  • Try to get an adequate amount of sleep at night.

Even if you don't care for the elderly or provide care in the home, take the time to think about those in your community who may live alone or have little family.  Feel free to use this list to lend them a helping hand.

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