Home Care in Minneapolis-St. Paul
The winter has officially arrived and depending on where you live that might mean that the snow has already started. If you are on a home care journey with your aging loved ones this winter it is important that you know how to keep them, and yourself, safe, healthy, and warm in the snow. While you might not think much about a dusting or even a couple of inches of snow on the ground, when you are caring for elderly adults it is critical to keep in mind that these adults are more vulnerable to the cold temperatures and to potentially serious health consequences associated with the snow so it is important that you adjust your home care efforts accordingly.
Use these tips, and share them with your parents’ in home health care services provider, to help keep your aging parents warm in the snow:
- Layer carefully. Wearing multiple layers of clothing is a great way to stay warm and adjust temperature if you are moving from indoors and out, but it is especially beneficial during the snowy months of the year. Walking through snow can cause the snow and ice to stick to your clothes, eventually melting and causing a lasting chill. Layer a pair of thick or water-resistant pants on top of your clothes when you head out so that you can peel this wet layer off when you get inside
- Do not get too warm. You want to be warm, but not too warm, when you head out into the snow. If you are warm to the point that you begin to sweat, you are at increased risk of hypothermia. Remember that your seniors are more vulnerable to the cold than you are, so even if you feel relatively comfortable, your seniors could be feeling extremely cold despite their sweating. This drops their core body temperature, further increasing their risk of hypothermia
- Steer clear of alcohol. Everyone has seen movies where men trudging through the snow drink from a flask to warm up, and sipping on your favorite adult beverage may feel warming on the chilliest of days, but the reality is that alcohol actually drops your core body temperature, making your body colder even if you feel warmer
- Warm up your feet and head. Most of your body heat is lost through your feet and the top of your head. This is why dipping your feet in a pool feels so fantastic on the hottest days of the year. When the snow starts to fall, keep your body warmer and ward off that uncomfortable chill that can make your feet hurt when you spend more than a few minutes outside by adding an extra pair of socks and choosing shoes that are water resistant and elevate your feet slightly off of the ground, such as boots. Be sure to put on a hat to cover the top of your head, and, if possible, add the hood of your sweatshirt or coat as well.