With the cold and frigid temperatures of Canadian winters, Hypothermia is a real concern that we need to look out for when caring for our senior loved-ones.
The cold temperatures create a higher risk for seniors to become hypothermic, so it is important for seniors and their caregivers to remain aware and vigilant of the ways they can work to prevent Hypothermia.
Hypothermia is a dropping of the body’s temperature to a dangerous level, which can lead to various problems within the body, or even death in severe circumstances. There are some ways to identify Hypothermia in its early stages so that medical assistance can be sought promptly. The following are indicators of a hypothermic state:
- Cold Skin
- Blueish Tinge to, Fingertips, Skin, and Lips
- Slurred Speech
- Lack of Alertness
It is important to note that individuals entering a hypothermic state will not necessarily be shivering or complaining of feeling cold, so keeping an eye out for these other symptoms can help family members and caregivers to spot the issue.
Should you suspect Hypothermia, seek medical assistance and make sure your loved one has somewhere dry, warm, and comfortable to wait for help that will help to warm up their body as much as possible.
The Risk for Seniors
As a result of more advanced age, seniors’ bodies are less efficient in the processes of temperature regulation, meaning they are not always able to feel the full severity of a temperature drop. This biological factor coupled with the possible impacts that medications or symptoms of other chronic conditions or health problems can have upon seniors’ bodies makes them at a greater risk of becoming hypothermic in the cold temperatures of Canadian winters.
When it comes to preventing Hypothermia, the best preventative measure is just to make sure seniors are kept warm at all times.
- Make sure their home is amply heated and that all the doors and windows are properly closed to prevent cold air from seeping in.
- Ensure they are dressed appropriately for the cold weather in layers and warm fabrics that will keep them warm and insulated. Have blankets available in the home for covering up and perhaps extra bedding for a warm, cozy sleep.
- Always make sure proper outerwear is worn outside. Gloves and hats should always be in play while outside, even if it is just a brief walk from the house to the car.
Hypothermia can have very harmful impacts on seniors’ health and wellbeing, but preventing seniors from becoming hypothermic is easy with a little thought and planning. Taking some time to put strategies in place and properly equip seniors for the cold can make all the difference.