Senior Home Care Blog - Northeastern Illinois

How Caregivers Can Overcome Winter Challenges

By Tom Merlin

How Caregivers Can Overcome Winter Challenges

Ice, snow and other winter weather is difficult for everyone, but when you are a caregiver it can take even more challenges. Doctor’s appointments, social activities, church, grocery store runs….all of this can be far more difficult in the winter months.

Remaining indoors all the time might seem like the right thing to do, but we all get cabin fever—especially our senior loved ones! There’s no doubt that falling is a huge risk for seniors, but they are especially vulnerable during cold weather. Here are some fantastic tips to keep your senior safe from falls:

Stay informed about the weather forecast. If you see that today is sunny, but tomorrow is icy and cold, you should run your errands accordingly.
Have plenty of salt on hand to use on driveways and sidewalks to help prevent falls. Sand and salt both will add extra traction, as well as melt the snow and ice.
ALWAYS have an ice scraper in your car! Take the time to clear all the windows and windshield from snow and ice. Don’t forget the back window as well! It also helps to run your engine for a few minutes, so the defroster can help clear your windows.
It might seem like short trips are the safest and easiest, but the fact is that traffic accidents happen most often close to home! Keep an eye on the traffic and avoid venturing out when traffic is heaviest. If you must make trips during these peak hours, you should always have an emergency kit that includes the following:

- Blankets
- Extra batteries and flashlights
- First aid kit
- Food items that won’t go bad, such as canned goods or snacks
Plenty of bottled water
- Sand or rock salt to provide traction and help melt snow and ice
- Snow shovel
- Jumper cables
- Cell phone charging sticks that don’t require the car to be running in order to use them.

Always have extra medication on hand. Even if it’s a short errand, winter weather can cause you to get home much later than anticipated, so keep an extra dose or two of your meds.
Keep your car in good working order. Make sure you keep your gas tank full and have the oi changed every 3000 miles. Have your tires checked for proper air pressure and tread to handle winter roads. Always keep your cell phone in case you need to dial 911.
Winter weather is best enjoyed from inside where you are safe and warm. But if you or your senior loved one must venture out, keep the trips short and plan well.
Use the time inside to talk about projects around the house that you could do together. Things like cleaning out closets or sorting through family pictures, etc. Organizing these things is always more enjoyable with company and allows them to tell you personal stories so that the generations to come can also enjoy them!
Make it a day for movies and games. The library is a great source to check out DVDs and games. Why not invite some family and friends and enjoy a new tradition for winter weather! Favorite snacks and popcorn just add to the fun!
Work a puzzle together. There is no better way to pass time indoors than working on a puzzle together. It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment and something everyone can do together.

For more information on how to cope with the challenges of caring for seniors during the winter months, contact us today!

Home Helpers of Northeastern Illinois is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Skokie, Evanston, Glenview, Northbrook, Bannockburn, Deerfield, Fort Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Golf, Highwood, Hubbard Woods, Kenilworth, Lake Forest, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Riverwoods, Rosemont, Techny, Wilmette, and Winnetka, Illinois.