With temperatures ranging from below zero through the fifties in the Cherry Hill and Burlington area throughout the winter, it can be difficult to keep homes warm. Seniors often have decreased circulation and health conditions that make staying warm more important than ever. Caregivers and family members can take steps to ensure that their loved ones are warm and protected through the cold snaps of winter.
Watch Local Forecasts
Weather forecasts are often pretty accurate when it comes to predicting storms and cold weather. Caregivers and family members can help seniors to anticipate and prepare for cold weather before the fact. Preparation may include stocking up on supplies in advance so that seniors don’t feel the need to venture out, scheduling snow clearing services, and making sure that seniors have proper clothing and bedding to keep warm if the home is drafty.
Winterize the Home
Many New Jersey homes are older, which may mean inadequate insulation and cold drafts. Caregivers and family members may help to keep drafts out by sealing windows with weather stripping, plastic, or storm windows. Replacing air filters can help to improve heat circulation and keep heating costs lower. Family members and caregivers can also help to make sure that seniors have an adequate supply of heating oil, wood, or other fuel to keep the home as warm as possible.
Minimize Flight Risks
Seniors that suffer from dementia or other cognitive disorders that cause wandering issues may be at increased risk during the cold snaps of winter. Even if seniors are still in early stages of dementia or have not exhibited wandering behaviors in the past, it may be prudent to schedule overnight care or have a family member stay with elders through the cold days and nights of winter. The change in scenery that winter weather can cause may increase feelings of isolation and confusion, so seniors that have not exhibited wandering behaviors before may suddenly become disoriented and feel the need to leave home. This can become especially dangerous when temperatures are extreme or visibility is poor, as seniors may catch frostbite or hypothermia or become involved in an accident when wandering.
Ensure Adequate Nutrition
Eating properly can improve circulation and help seniors to naturally retain body heat when temperatures drop. Caregivers and family members can help seniors by making or assisting with the preparation of warm comfort foods and soups. Having the oven or stove on will also help to keep the home a bit warmer.