January in Ohio is not for the weak. While wintertime offers plenty of reasons to cozy up near a fireplace with a hot cup of coffee, it also is full of dangers and potential accidents. Your aging loved ones may be at a higher risk for winter-related illness, accidents, or isolation. To set your senior loved ones up for success, check out our favorite five tips for keeping them safe - and sane - this season.
Keep Germs at Bay
Late fall ushers in cold and flu season. Winter temperatures keep people inside, windows closed, and germs multiplying like crazy. The flu can be extra dangerous for those over the age of 65; a small cough can quickly turn into acute bronchitis or pneumonia, essentially guaranteeing an unplanned hospital stay. This year, talk to your loved one's geriatrician about the benefits and contradictions of a flu shot for their particular conditions and health. Beyond protecting yourself and aging loved ones with appropriate vaccinations, remember to revert back to good health practices. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and remind your loved ones to do so as well. Cover your mouth with your elbow (not your hands) when you sneeze or cough. Politely decline invitations if you are feeling sick, and encourage your loved one to stay home and relax if they are feeling ill. Encourage them to drink lots of water too!
If your loved one does become ill, be sure they have the support they need to take care of themselves so that their cough or fever doesn't progress into something worse. Encourage them to:
- Drink plenty of fluids and don't forget to rest.
- Cancel any of your obligations so that they can take it easy at home.
- Don't wait to head to the doctor, especially if there is a fever, decreased appetite, or other troublesome symptoms.
Your loved one's doctor can provide antibiotics for a treatable illness, or antivirals for influenza, if your loved one goes in soon after feeling ill. Most importantly, don't forget to call
our Visiting Angels office
to ask for
additional assistance, well-being checks, or food preparation.
Know Your Emergency Plan
As in any season, it is important to be sure that you are confident of what to do in case of an emergency. Take a moment to update any emergency contact information for your loved one, such as cell phone numbers of family members. Take time to update their medical information as well, such as current prescriptions and doctor office information. Be sure your loved one, or their neighbors, know who to call if they fall, if the power goes out, or if they are feeling sick. The more prepared you feel, the better you will be able to give the needed help to your loved one if an emergency does occur this winter.