Safely Braving Winter

The Chicago weather always keeps us on our toes, especially this winter! With snow, the polar-vortex, ice storms, and so much more, we want to be sure everyone including clients, their families, and caregivers are staying safe out there!

While the weather can be difficult to plan for, there are always some basic tips to help keep everyone safe, especially our senior friends.
It’s important to remember no matter what type of home you live in (house, apartment, or facility), there is always risk of hypothermia. In fact, hypothermia can happen to someone in a nursing home or group facility if the rooms are not kept to an appropriate warm temperature.

Here are some tips for keeping warm while you're inside:
• Set your heat to at least 67–70°F. Close off rooms not in use and try placing a towel or barrier in front of all doors to help with drafts.
• Even when staying home, dress warm – including socks (double up!), house shoes, blankets, and whatever else will keep you comfy!
• Make sure you eat! If you don't eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.
• Check in via phone and in-person on the elderly. If they don’t answer, arrange for a wellness check.

Avoid Slipping on Ice - Did you know over 50% of falls among elderly people result in an injury?
• Wearing non-skid soles and shoes with good traction will help brave the icy and slick weather. The best kinds of shoes to wear in the winter are boots and gym shoes.
• Walk slowly and carefully. Pay attention to where you are walking.
• Change cane and walker tips that are worn out.
• Have a neighbor, family member, or service shovel and salt your driveway and sidewalk (There are now phone apps to schedule on-demand shoveling and plowing)
• Take your time.

Dress for Warmth
• When traveling outside, wear a coat, hat, gloves, and scarf. Dress in layers, you can always take the layers off if you get warm.
• Use extra covers at night. Heating blankets can work wonders!
• Invest in a space heater
• If wet or damp, make sure to change your clothes right away

The most important thing to stress is to take care of each other. Check in on friends and loved ones. If you have a loved one that needs a little extra help, show up for them. Whether that means calling to check in, offering they stay with you temporarily, or just making sure they are stocked up on warm goodies, just be there for them and help make sure everyone is safe.