Prepare for Winter - Top 5 Home Care Recommendations for Seniors

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posted by Ryan Whittington on December 06, 2011

St. Louis summers can be sweltering, but residents know that come December, the temperatures can stay below freezing for days and weeks at a time. The resulting ice, snow and cold weather can be a hazard for people of any age, but those over 60 should take extra caution. Winter weather and seniors just don't mix well. Below are a few things you can do to help you stay safe this winter season:

1. Make use of home care. Fortunately, there are resources all over the greater St. Louis area to help older residents do routine errands so that they can stay warm and safe in their own home. You don't have to be sick to take advantage of home care resources. Your local senior center, church or community aid office can put you in touch with a group to do things such as deliver a hot meal, run to the grocery or drug store, drive you to the dentist's office or do small maintenance jobs around your home. Many of these services are provided by private duty home care services.

2. Dress appropriately. High heels or dress loafers may look stylish, but they are an accident waiting to happen when it's snowy outside, even for the most agile person. You should also wear a hat. Those with thinning hair are especially vulnerable to heat loss from a bare head, and even those with a full head of hair lose up to seven percent of their body heat by leaving their head uncovered.

3. Splurge on a snow removal service. Saying that you aren't going to leave the home when it's icy or cold sounds good, but when you need a loaf of bread or one of your kids or grandkids calls, it's difficult to stay indoors. Be ready for icy days by contracting with a snow removal service before the snow starts flying. Many plow operators offer attractive rates for those paying in advance for the whole season. Plus, they usually plow their contract clients' drives first. Make sure that they take care of the walkways as well.

4. Get a Flu and Pneumonia Shot. It's not too late to get your flu and/or pneumonia shots for the year. In fact, the Center for Disease Control recommends both shots for anyone over age 65 or those of any age with a chronic disease like diabetes. Winter weather and seniors is a mixture that can easily lead to pneumonia if you aren't careful. To avoid getting sick, be sure to eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables this winter and wash your hands frequently. If you smoke, you can reap the benefits of quitting at any age, and smoking increases the risk of contracting pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.

5. Plan ahead. Avoid having to venture out in snowy, cold weather by keeping a stockpile of food and other supplies you use frequently. Besides, buying a six week supply of things you use when they are on sale is a great way to save money on food and drug store items. In addition, set up your prescriptions so that they are mailed directly to your home. This will save you a trip to the drug store in cold winter.

Winter in St. Louis can be an enjoyable time for seniors as well as younger residents...with a little advance planning and precautions. Don't be afraid to reach out to area resources to help you stay safe and warm this season.

Seniors Home Care is a premier provider of private duty home care services in the St. Louis area.  For more information, please visit our website at or call 314-962-2666.  Celebrating 25 wonderful years in 2012!!

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