Cold Weather Preparation Tips for Seniors
Fall and colder weather are at hand, and many of us are thinking about how best to get ready for the winter. For seniors, there are a number of things they should think about. Here are some tips that older people can use for cold weather preparation.
Get Ready for Snow Shoveling in Cold Weather
Many seniors are no longer able to shovel snow or may face health consequences if they try. It's best to make sure that you have arrangements made to get your driveway and sidewalk shoveled before the first significant fall of the season. This might mean paying local teenagers to do it or asking your family to help.
If you use a snowblower, now is the time to dig it out of storage, fill the tank, check the oil and tires, and make sure it starts up. If you can't do this yourself, get a savvy friend to check it over for you.
Also, get salt and make sure that whoever is taking care of your walkways uses it.
Check Your Wardrobe
Make sure you can find all of your winter clothing and everything is in good condition. A lot of people shove coats, hats and gloves out of the way for the summer, and don't always remember to pull them out again. Seniors in particular can be a little disorganized about this. In particular, check winter boots and snow boots to make sure they are still waterproof and weatherproof.
If you need to buy replacements, try to do so before winter is in full swing.
Prepare for Power Outages
Are you ready for the possibility of losing power after a storm? Make sure you have stocked up on batteries for your flashlight (don't rely on a smartphone, as the flashlight function drains the battery rapidly and you may need your phone functional for other reasons). Get an extended power supply for your phone and keep it charged. Do not use candles to light your home when the power goes out.
In areas with common extended outages, stock your pantry with shelf-stable food that can be eaten cold.
Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather
Prepare your home for winter. This is another task family members and home aides can help with. You should:
- Check for drafts around doors and windows and reapply caulk as needed.
- Reseal concrete or asphalt driveways, walkways, patios, etc.
- Clean your gutters. It's best for seniors not to try this themselves.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Make sure to not block the chimney and flue. This is the time to call in the chimney sweep.
- If you have a fireplace, order in a good supply of firewood.
- Shut down sprinkler systems and drain outside faucets.
- Cover patio furniture.
Basically, make sure everything is ready for cold weather.
Get Your Shots
It's wise for seniors to get their flu shot early as there is sometimes a shortage of the high-dose vaccine recommended for people over 65. Getting your flu shot is the best way to keep from getting sick; even if you do get the flu anyway, you are a lot less likely to end up in the hospital.
65-year-olds should receive the pneumococcal vaccine. This vaccine should only be given once (certain people are recommended this vaccine younger and they may require a second dose at this age).
Finally, the CDC is recommending a COVID booster to all adults 65 and older who received the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccine at least eight months ago. If you fall into this group, you can get your COVID booster and your flu shot at the same time.
Learn More About Cold Weather Preparation
Winter is on its way, with various emotions coming with it. Thus, make sure you or your elderly relative are ready for the change in season. Home health aides can help make appointments to get vaccines, drive you to buy more winter clothes, and help winterize your home. Elite Home Health Care can help make sure you are ready to enjoy a cozy winter by the fire.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.