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With icy sidewalks that can cause disastrous falls and plug-in heaters that can cause deadly fires, the winter months pose a special set of hazards for the ailing and elderly. Here are the top things to watch for to make sure that your loved ones stay safe and sound this holiday season.
If your parents live in an area where they are responsible for keeping their walkway clear and easily travelled, make sure that there is a plan in place so that they themselves will not have to do any shoveling. If you’re unable to stop by their house with a shovel or snow blower on the day of a storm, perhaps you can arrange for one of their neighbors to do so. (Additionally, if one or both of your parents use a walker, be sure that the path accommodates that extra width.)
Aside from the risk that your loved one can trip over an exposed chord, appliances such as space heaters and electric blankets can be fire hazards when plugged in for prolonged periods of time. If possible, purchase models that come with a timer. This way, if your parent forgets to unplug an electric blanket, it will automatically cool off before overheating occurs.
Increase the nighttime visibility around your loved one’s home by making sure that all pathways are amply-lit with soft, well-placed lighting. Avoid lamps (i.e., halogen) that are too harsh, as they can create a glare, as well as lamps that are positioned in a way that they may shine in your parent’s face.
If there are stairs leading up to your parents' front door, be sure that there is a sturdy banister for them to hold on to while going up and down the staircase. Again, these stairs should be completely free of ice and snow in times of inclement weather.
Another way to help your loved ones avoid falls outside the home during winter months is to make sure that your parents are wearing shoes or snow boots that provide ample arch support and contain rubber soles that can help them gain traction while navigating various ground surfaces.
Click here to watch a video about How to Prevent Trips and Falls in the Home.
To find out how VNSNY can help you care for your family member, please call 1-800-675-0391.