Seniors at special risk for hypothermia

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2019 | Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect |

With the coldest months of the year on the way for Greensboro residents, you are probably gearing up for freezing temperatures. As you winterize your house, give some thought to your senior loved ones. Whether living alone or in a nursing home, older adults are at special risk for illness due to the cold. 

If your mom or dad resides in an assisted living facility or nursing home, hopefully, the staff know the signs to watch for with hypothermia and other cold-weather ailments. Unfortunately, many facilities face understaffing through the holiday season. They are not always able to provide enough attention to every resident. Make sure that you know how to protect your family through the winter. 

Risks of hypothermia 

Older adults should be especially careful to avoid hypothermia because of the higher risk for this vulnerable population. 

Some older adults do not eat enough during the winter because they have lost their appetite or feel nauseous after taking medication. The loss of body weight means that they feel chilled much faster than most younger people. 

Additionally, many seniors do not move very much throughout the day. Without exercise and activity to help keep them warm, something as simple as a draft through the window can lead to plummeting body temperature. 

Tips for helping seniors stay warm 

When visiting your loved one through the winter, ask yourself: 

  • Does your father have appropriate winter clothing? As seniors often stay indoors all day, you may not remember to get out the winter wardrobe. But dressing in layers can be especially helpful for seniors who are less able to regulate their own body temperature. Double-check that Dad has easily accessible sweaters and warm pajamas.  
  • Are your mother’s windows secure? Even if the facility keeps the thermostat between 68 and 70 degrees, a drafty window can make Mom’s room an icebox at night. Talk with the staff to see what they can do to weatherproof the windows.  

Help your parents ward off the cold to stay well this winter.