More home fires happen during the winter months than any other time of the year mainly due to home heating devices, and people age 65 and older are three times more likely to die or be injured in a home fire as those who are younger. Every winter season brings in its wake a number of significantly increased health risks, particularly for elderly citizens.
A second major danger for seniors during the colder months of the year is that of hypothermia. Keep a snow shovel and your winter salt supply near the front door for easy access, and salt paths both to your driveway and to your mailbox. Set your thermostat at a minimum of 68 degrees, and warm up thoroughly before doing any snow-shoveling or other outdoor winter activities.
The elderly are particularly susceptible to slip-and-fall injuries and hypothermia during the winter season. With it looking like winter already, here are a few important tips on how to keep your senior loved ones safer at home.
Twin Cities residents who have an elderly family member often seek tips on how to reduce winter risks for their senior neighbor friend or loved family member.
Home Destination Offers A list of Safety and Security Tips for Elderly Twin Cities Residents - for the cold winter months ahead.
Minnesota winter windstorms and heavy snowfalls may be beautiful in thier stunnign white coats; however, if they knock out power for seniors tucked in at home, thier saftely may be in peril. A wireless home security system offers residents who live alone in a Twin Cities single-family home for seniors, due to its ability to function even during a power outage. Check with your local city government or senior living society to see what information may be available on financial assistance for energy efficient and safety home improvement help. Prepare a home emergency supply kit with any necessary medications and other safety items in case of a power outage or if the elderly person is unable to leave their home due to icy weather conditions. While you are at it, check to see that their doctor or pharmacist has currently reviewed their medicines - both prescription and over-the counter - to identify expired medications, prescription conflicts, or those that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness that impede seniors logic and thereby ability to be safe at home.
Next scheduled heath check-up, ask for recommendations of how to set up a senior exercise program at home and how to make accommodations within the homes living space. Have the elderly person’s chimneys inspected and cleaned annually during their Fall Home Maintenance Check-Up.
Think of how many times an individual whose aging body is limiting the number of things they can do, and how weary they may become of asking for help.

For additional information on senior's home safety at home, read our post titledTwin Cities Seniors Are Most Vulnerable to Home Fires. Get an ABC multipurpose fire extinguisher for the home; learn how to use it and check it yearly to be sure is working. One recent study published in the international health and science journal Injury Prevention, for example, found that the risk of serious hip fractures increased by 27% during winter for those between the ages 65 and 79.
Black ice can be hard to see for anyone, but our eyesight weakens as we age and darkness makes black ice even more invisible.
Alternatively, you can invest in snow-melting mats that will eliminate the need for salting. This means stocking up on things like blankets, medications, canned goods, flashlights, and a battery-operated radio to use for weather reports. We can help you find Twin Cities real estate listings, home improvements, offer you many resources on buying and home renovation tips.
Home Destination offers tips of safety and security precautions that should be taken to ensure seniors are living happily and safely through our colder months. For Twin Cities seniors who find it more challenging to get out icy winter roads, it is even more important that someone checks in on them, particularly when it’s very cold outside. Falls are a big problem for the elderly, and this problem is only increased when it’s snowy or icy outside.
Sidewalk snow clearance may not be possible in the midst of winter storms; however, immediacy will help reduce snow and ice compaction that only becomes more challenging to remove.
Familiarize the home's residents about carbon monoxide as a particular risk during Twin Cities winter months. The Minnesota Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay homeowner's heating costs and furnace repairs needed for Minnesota winters for income-qualified households. Consider giving simple gifts of clothing items they may lack that are constructed of natural fibers for better warmth.
Whether it is a lengthier trip to share a pleasant family visit over the holiday or a quick trip to the local gorier, safe travel to and from home is a part of winter safety. When winter months keep residents at home more often, which is even more so for Twin Cities seniors, having the ability to exercise in-doors at home is the difference often in accomplishing it. Before space heaters are used, the furnace is turned on for the first time, or a fire is build in a home fireplace, inspected and ensure they’re safe and functioning properly.

Being quick to perceive their circumstances and offer a willing hand and the hours it may take to reduce home clutter will help with home safety. The steps leading up to the house should remain in good repair, never weak or wobbly because they will be even more difficult to navigate safely with snow and ice on them. Many of these wintertime fractures are caused by slipping and falling on ice and snow, and they lead to extended hospitalizations and are often life-threatening. If family members are unable to do so on a regular basis, arrangements with a friend or neighbor to stop by frequently will help ensure winter home safety. The caregiver can be sure your loved one is safe at home, or provide transportation to a warming center or other designated shelter," states United Way.
An indoor temperature that feels comfortable to other family members may be unsafe for older adults. If you or your aging loved ones are starting to find winter’s challenges overwhelming, it may be time to consider a move to an independent living, assisted living, or continuing care community. Furthermore, certain medications for high blood pressure, colds, and allergies can also render seniors more susceptible to hypothermia. Plan a shopping outing together if they are hoping to find the perfect shade in a winter sweater, evening robe, or woolen mittens. Be aware of signs of hypothermia, and be sensitive to senior needs to remain warm and comfortable, perhaps with a sweater, thermal underwear and an extra blanket for the bed. Gather storage tubs and help your senior friend or family member through the process of sorting, eliminating, and storing household clutter for added winter home safely.
To begin your search for the perfect home for you or your loved ones, visit the Alternatives for Seniors website or call a Senior Specialist at (888) WE-ASSIST (888-932-7747). Department of Health and Human Services; it may be as simple as introducing your senior family member to its services to help gain the funds needed to make their home safer and reduce home energy bills at the same time.

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