How to Help Your Aging Parent Get Ready for Winter

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The change of seasons from fall to winter can be challenging for seniors. The weather may prevent them from going out, and it can also be a time when depression is at its peak. Fortunately, you can help your senior loved one transition from autumn to winter. Here’s how.

Vaccinate

Winter is peak season for the influenza virus. Seniors are especially vulnerable to effects of the flu. They’re more likely to catch the flu because of age-related immunity suppression, and their symptoms may be more severe if they do get it. For these reasons, you should ensure your loved one gets his or her flu vaccination. While getting an influenza vaccine may not guarantee your loved one won’t get the flu, it may ensure the effects of the virus are milder and of shorter duration if he or she does get sick. 

If your parent does get the flu, it might be a good idea to enlist the help of a home care agency. For many seniors in Milwaukee, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

Check the Wardrobe

If your loved one lives in a cold climate, he or she may be exposed to freezing temperatures, wind, snow, and ice. Make sure he or she has warm boots, nonskid shoes, sweaters, hats, gloves, and a warm winter coat. This way, your loved one will be better prepared and perhaps less hesitant to venture outside during inclement weather. Also, make sure your parent has a couple of warm scarves to cover the nose and mouth so he or she doesn’t inhale the cold air, which may irritate the lungs.

Write Down Emergency Phone Numbers

During the winter, the furnace can break down, snow and ice can accumulate on the walkways, the roof can leak, and the power can go out. If your loved one lives alone, he or she should have emergency phone numbers on hand in the event one of the aforementioned events takes place. In addition, make sure your parent has the phone number of an emergency plumber in case the hot water tank breaks or the pipes burst. To prevent burst pipes, instruct your loved one to keep the water faucets turned on slightly. A dripping water faucet maintains water flow through the pipes so they don’t freeze and subsequently burst. 

Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Milwaukee, WI, seniors can depend on.

Provide Comfort Food

Make sure you stock your loved one’s freezer with comfort foods during the winter. Nutrient-dense foods such as stews, hearty soups, casseroles, and meatloaf can keep seniors full while providing them with much-needed vitamins and minerals. Your loved one may not have much of an appetite during the winter months, so it’s important that the foods he or she eats are rich in essential nutrients. Also, make sure you prepare the foods in microwave-safe containers so when your loved one removes the food from the freezer, it won’t be necessary to transfer it to another dish.

Cold weather and dark days can be hard on all of us, and it’s especially important to prepare the elderly for winter. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Milwaukee senior care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. If your senior loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at Milwaukee (414) 964-8000 or Waukesha (262) 782-3383.