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Caring for Seniors: Caring for Seniors During Changing Seasons

Sep-07-2020 | Uncategorized,

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As we head into another time of the year, start thinking about long term care for seniors at home during each season. Every time of the year has unique challenges for the elderly population. Keep reading to learn how to care for seniors during season change such as autumn, winter, spring, and summer.

Care During Autumn

Autumn is the season to prepare in-home care clients for the winter ahead. The flu season officially begins in October. So start asking your client’s family or nurse to arrange for a flu vaccine in September or early October. Go through the client’s over-the-counter medicines and get rid of any cold-related medication or supplies that have expired. Replace the expired supplies and stock up on other things like tissues, cough drops, and nose spray if applicable.

Fill the pantry with cans of healthy soups and find recipes for warm dishes that can be put in the crockpot for easy meals. Fix any drafty spots in the house.

Don’t forget to go through existing cold weather clothes and replace anything that’s no longer wearable. Make sure the client has enough socks, sweaters, warm pajamas, and blankets to keep them cozy.

Care During Winter

Winter is the coldest time of year and can present the most risk to seniors at home with increased fall risks and household risks. One of the most important steps to take is to prepare the home for winter. Caregivers should notify the client or their family of any potential hazards around the home such as a lack of fire extinguishers around the fireplace, stairs that present a fall hazard when wet, or carbon monoxide detectors in need of batteries.

Make up an emergency kit with a flashlight, warm blankets, a radio, backup batteries, water, and nonperishable food to last for several days in case in-home visits cannot be made. Install non-slip mats under rugs and in any room where the client may slip and fall. Keep shoes on mats inside the house to keep puddles from forming on the floor if they’re wet. Finally, keep areas well-lighted as it gets dark to prevent clients from falling over objects.

Care During Spring

Spring is a season of fresh starts and is a time for caregivers providing in-home senior care to reassess things in the home. Examples of this include making sure that the medication list for the client is current and has all prescribed medications as well as vitamins or supplements. Any expired or discontinued medications should put in a separate location until a family member or client’s home care nurse can look at them or disposed of if possible.

Evaluate the rooms used by the client for any repairs or improvements to be made. Consider installing grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathroom, putting appliances and dishes within easy reach in the kitchen, and installing a nightlight in the bedroom. Move clothes and grooming items within reach for the client to use and make sure they can reach the phone or medic-alert devices from the bed.

Lastly, secure cords out of the way and get rid of clutter in the home that presents an ambulation hazard.

Care During Summer

When the weather begins to heat up, seniors face new challenges. Heat can put added stress and pressure on the elderly. It’s best to keep them cool and indoors. Avoid any strenuous activities. If the client wants to do a physical activity like take a walk, it’s best to do it early in the morning while it’s still cool. Keep them hydrated throughout the day with water and avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in it. Encourage wearing light layers and keep the home cool by running a fan or using solar curtains.

Prepare meals that are light and healthy like salads and avoid heavy meals. Stock up on popsicles or other frozen items that help keep clients hydrated and cool. Offer a cool shower or bath to help beat the heat and use a cool washcloth on the back of the neck when sitting to help alleviate feeling hot.

If the client wants to go out, go to places with air conditioning like a library, coffee shop, or mall.

Every season has its care benefits and care challenges. The most important thing to remember is to prepare in advance. The more prepared a caregiver is for each season, the less stressful it will be for the senior. If you’re looking for a thoughtful and prepared caregiver, contact Polish Care Services. Our staff will be happy to match our caregivers to your loved ones.

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