It's no secret that this winter has been unusual. Hawaii has seen snow at the lowest elevation levels in recorded history. States like Minnesota and South Dakota were predicting wind chills of 60 below zero. Even Southern California was not dodging winter's icy grip.
In the middle of all this cold, you should be thinking of your mom. Body heat in elderly men and women dissipates faster than in younger adults. The National Institute of Health says that it's important for senior citizens to keep the heat in their homes at 68 to 70 degrees.
In cold weather, these higher settings can drive up heating bills. Your mom can't afford extra expenses, but she cannot risk her health and safety either. How do you keep her warm?
Call the Agency on Aging
Start by calling the Agency on Aging. If your mom meets the financial rules, states have fuel assistance program that can help lower the cost of some heating fuel. There are deadlines for signing up, so it's best to get an application in as soon as possible.
Dress in Layers
Your mom needs to dress in layers. She should put a sweater over a tank top. Socks, long underwear under her pants, and a scarf around the neck will also help her feel warmer.
In addition to layers, a lap quilt will help keep her warm while she reads a book or watches a movie. If she gets too warm, she can remove the quilt for a while.
Seal Drafts Around Doors and Windows
Extra weatherstripping around doors and windows help prevent drafts. You can also buy plastic insulation kits that keep out the cold air. You put double-sided tape down on the window or door frame, adhere the plastic to the tape, and use a blow dryer to tighten the plastic over the door or window. When spring arrives, the plastic removes with ease.
Close Doors on Unused Rooms
If your mom never uses the den, she should close that door to keep warm air contained to a smaller area. She can do the same with bedrooms upstairs that she never uses. If she has an unheated basement, the door to that basement may also be drafty. A draft blocker at the bottom of the door will help prevent cold air from entering.
Signs of hypothermia are confusion, shivering, slurred speech, and a lack of energy. Make sure someone checks on your mom when it's cold out. If you can't do it, don't worry. Elderly care aides can stop by each day and see how your mom is doing. If she seems cold, the elderly care aide can help her warm up while calling a doctor.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Holladay, 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.