Tag Archives: Winter

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

There’s a good reason so many holiday-themed films and songs mention going home for the Home for the holidaysholidays: home is a symbol for all of the most pleasant experiences in life. If we are fortunate, we can’t even step foot inside our childhood homes without it conjuring up heartwarming memories of our favorite foods, traditions, and sentiments.

Of course, as the years go by, our homes naturally evolve. Children grow-up to be adults; they get married; and they start families of their own. Mom and dad become grandma and grandpa; they retire from their jobs; and they deservedly gain back some of their freedom. Foods, traditions, and sentiments change over time. Some changes are easier to accept than others, however.

If you will be seeing older parents, relatives, and friends for the first time in several months or longer, you are likely to notice certain behavioral variations. Realize that this experience can bring up feelings of distress and grief. Complex emotions can be difficult to deal with, especially during this busy time of year. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be prepared. Prepare yourself and your family as best you can. Discuss with your spouse and children ahead of time what to expect when visiting older relatives. Practice what to say and what not to say. You may need to prepare yourself to take on a new role, as more of a caretaker, with regard to your aging parents. Consider reading a book about dealing with the challenges of watching loved ones age. There are some good suggestions here.
  • Be empathetic. Gently help older adults feel comfortable with the adjustments that need to be made. As striking as these behavioral changes seem to you because you vividly remember how different mom or dad was acting last time you were in town, notice that he or she is experiencing these changes more gradually. Have you ever noticed how there is a huge difference between how old you feel and how old you are? Well, the same is true of older adults. Remember that mom and dad may not realize or may be in denial about the fact that their lifestyles need to change.
  • Be grateful. Acknowledge the help that other family members, friends, and neighbors have provided. If you have relatives who live closer to an aging relative than you do, recognize that they may have a different perspective than you do. Point out what they are doing right and consult with them when it comes to making necessary changes. If everyone can work together to make choices that are in the best interest of older adults, the results will be much better all around.
  • Be respectful. When in doubt, approach everyone involved with respect.

Dealing with the challenges our loved ones face as they age and the challenges we ourselves face as we hold their hands through the process, takes a great deal of courage. It can be tempting, especially during the holiday festivities, to simply ignore the issues we notice. But if we strategize when we are feeling our most calm, cool, and collected, then we can reserve the times at home for creating more happy memories.

For the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home.

Stay Safe and Warm this Winter

Although the snow and ice hasn’t started sticking around in most parts of the US just yet, that Cold Weather and Elderlyfamiliar chill is in the air warning us that Old Man Winter will be camping out on our lawns soon enough. It’s time to think about how to protect our loved ones from the dangers of colder weather.

Extreme cold temperatures can pose serious risks to our health, especially as we get older. Our metabolism slows and our bodies produce less heat than when we were young and spry, according to the American Geriatrics Society’s Foundation for Health in Aging. As a result, older adults are more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. Older people are also more likely to be injured in slip-and-fall accidents.

This winter, as the thermometer dips, let’s take the following steps to prevent cold weather health threats.

Stay warm and cozy

As we get older, our sense of touch deteriorates. In addition, health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, poor circulation, paralysis brought on by a suffering stroke, etc. can cause a lack of feeling, especially in the extremities. This puts seniors at high risk for hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature), symptoms of which include slurred speech, sluggishness, confusion, dizziness, shallow breathing, and slow, irregular heartbeat. Get emergency help if you see any of these warning signs.

To prevent hypothermia:

  • Keep your home’s thermostat set at 68° F or above and reduce heating costs by making your home more energy efficient.
  • Dress in layers of loose-fitting clothing for warmth.
  • Prepare for weather emergencies by stocking up on food and fresh water. Keep extra batteries, candles, flashlights, and extra blankets on hand at all times.
  • When going outside, make sure to keep your head covered and wear mittens or gloves.

Shield your skin from the elements

Aging skin becomes drier and thinner making it more likely to tear and chap. It is also more prone to frostbite. Symptoms of frostbite include gray, white, or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, and a waxy feeling to the skin. If you suspect frostbite has occurred, get immediate medical attention and facilitate warming up the body without rubbing delicate skin.

To protect your skin:

  • When going outside, make sure to wear proper gear to protect skin from wind and cold.
  • While inside, keep air warm and moist. Use a humidifier or put a pan of water near a heat source, such as a radiator. Change the water on a daily basis.
  • Moisturize your skin with lotion and use petroleum jelly on chapped lips or especially dry patches of skin.

Look out for ice

Removing snow and ice from all walkways is essential for preventing falls. If you cannot shovel the areas around your home yourself, consider hiring someone to help. Older adults should consult with their doctors before attempting to shovel or do any hard labor outside in cold weather.

To avoid falls:

  • Carefully shovel all steps, driveways, and walkways to your home.
  • Sprinkle ice-melting salt, which can be purchased at local home improvement stores, on especially slippery spots.
  • Avoid walking on icy or snowing sidewalks whenever possible.
  • Whenever walking outside, wear boots with non-skid soles.
  • If you use a cane, replace the tip before it gets worn smooth or replace the rubber tip with a sharp icepick-like attachment, which can be purchased at medical supply stores

As always, if you have elderly neighbors and loved ones, check on them regularly. Don’t let an emergency situation be the motivation you need to develop a solid communication plan. For additional peace of mind this season, contact Push Button Emergency Help to provide the right device for quickly and easily connecting your loved ones to emergency personnel.

Don’t let anyone be left out in the cold this winter.