Could Home Care Keep Your Parent from Getting Hypothermia?

Could Home Care Keep Your Parent from Getting Hypothermia?
It’s been a pretty brutal winter so far this year. The east coast has gotten hit with huge snowstorms. The Midwest is experiencing frigid temperatures, and there’s even been snow in Florida! Unfortunately, the cold of winter often results in the deaths of seniors from exposure to the cold. According to the CDC, an average of 1,301 people die each year from hypothermia. Older adults are more susceptible to hypothermia because of age-related changes. So, during these winter months, its especially important that we pay a little closer attention to the seniors in our lives. If you’re concerned about an aging relative this winter, home care could help you keep them safe from hypothermia. Here’s how home care can help.

Watching the Thermostat Setting

People often turn the thermostat down to save money on heating bills. However, since older adults may not feel cold as easily as younger people, they may not realize that the house has grown too cold to be safe. A home care provider can help by making certain the thermostat is set at no lower than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prepare Warm Meals

On a cold day, there’s not much better than eating a warm meal that warms from the inside out. A home care provider can prepare satisfying, healthy meals of soups and stews, or a hot bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. They can also make hot cups of tea, coffee, or cocoa throughout the day.

Watch for Signs of Hypothermia

Home care workers can watch older adults for signs of hypothermia, such as:
  • Shivering.
  • Slurred or mumbled speech.
  • Weak pulse.
  • Confusion.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Bring Warm Clothes and Blankets
A snuggly sweater or soft blanket can be warming as well as comforting. And, it can be a necessity for seniors who prefer to keep the thermostat set a little lower. And, if the senior is going outside, the home care provider can make certain they are dressed appropriately for the cold, including layers of warm clothing, hat, scarf, and gloves.

Safe Use of Space Heaters

If the older adult uses a space heater to keep one room warmer, a home care provider can make sure they are using it safely. Space heaters should never be plugged into extension cords. They should be placed a minimum of three feet away from any flammable material. Also, the home should have a working carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sources

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cold-weather-safety-older-adults

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothermia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352682

http://www.healthinaging.org/resources/resource:winter-safety-tips-for-older-adults/

If you or an aging loved one are considering homecare in Draper, UT, contact the caring staff at Interim Healthcare. Call today 801-401-3515.

Author: Michael and Marlena Hawkins, Owners, Interim HealthCare, Salt Lake City, UT 

Interim HealthCare of Salt Lake City has been in business since February 2014, providing in-home personal care and support services that help our elderly and/or disabled neighbors live enriched, safe and independent lives. Our goal is to provide customized care and support services that make it possible for our clients to remain in the comfort of their own homes rather than relocate to an assisted living facility. Interim HealthCare is family owned by Michael and Marlana Hawkins, and is a Veteran Owned Small Business.

 

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