Monthly Archives: December 2015

5 Hypothermia Tips to Protect Your Elderly Loved One

5 Hypothermia Tips to Protect Your Elderly Loved One

The days are getting short and the nights are getting longer, at least that’s the way it feels with the lack of daylight hours. In fact, the shortest ‘day’ of the year, also known as the winter solstice is less than a week away.

For us in the Pacific Northwest, winter often means the rain comes down faster and colder. While, it often doesn’t snow very much, it can get icy and being prepared for a cold, icy, snowy and wet winter is the best way to safely make it through it till Spring.

For our elderly loved ones, or loved ones with limited mobility, winter weather can pose many risks including but not limited to hypothermia, slips, trips, falls, social isolation, seasonal affective disorder, the flu and for those who suffer from dementia, sundowner’s syndrome.

In the next few weeks we will discuss each of these particular risks in detail and explore ways to keep your loved one healthy and safe this winter. We will start our winter series this week by exploring the risks associated with hypothermia.

According to the Missouri Department of Health, hypothermia is “defined as a drop in body temperature to less than 94.1° F as a result of exposure to cold weather or a cold natural environment.

A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control from 2006-2010 found that 10,639 people across the nation died as a result of weather. While 3,332 of those deaths were attributed to heat, an astonishing 6,660 or 63% were attributed to cold weather. Furthermore, on a scale of deaths per million, the average deaths between age 0-64 were 12 per million, however for those 65 and older it increases exponentially to an average of roughly 50 per million.

Even though these statistics may seem dreary, taking simple precautionary steps can go a long way in keeping your elderly loved one safe from hypothermia this winter.

  • Keep the inside temperature of your elderly loved one’s house above 68 degrees.
  • Dress your loved one appropriately. Making sure they dress in layers including long johns helps regulate temperature and keeps them from getting too cold.
  • Always have an extra blanket around. During the day if your loved one has limited mobility make sure they have a blanket to keep drafts away and at night give them extra blankets since temperatures tend to drop.
  • Help your loved one stay active. Getting them up to move around will keep the blood flowing and their bodies at a comfortable, healthy temperature.
  • Avoid going outside in extreme cold or windy conditions. If you must, layer them up.

Finally, in order to fully protect your loved one from hypothermia it is important to know the warning signs and call 911 as soon as they start displaying. The warning signs include:

  • Mood changes such as anger, slurring words, or unusually fatigued
  • Pale skin
  • Puffy face
  • Cold hands, fingers, feet and toes
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heart beat and shallow breathing

If you are worried about a loved one this winter or would like help ensuring their safety, don’t hesitate to contact us. Wiser Home Care Services can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs and help prevent hypothermia or any other wintry risks.

Your Guide to Comprehensive End of Life Care

Over the last several months we have blogged on the several forms of care Wiser Home Care Services provides to clients. We have explored care options such as personal care, companion care, dementia care, self care and most recently, respite care. This week we will explore the sensitive and necessary topic regarding End of Life Care.

According to statistics, most deaths in America occur in those aged 65 and older. While 63% of deaths happen at a hospital and 17% in an institutional setting, many seniors have voiced that they would like to have more of an influence on care decisions that effect them. Specifically, on decisions that dictate whether they are cared for in the comfort of their own home or an institutional setting. Considering this, it may come as no surprise that a majority of people nearing the end of their life would prefer to spend their final days at home with loved ones.

While loved ones want to make final days the most comfortable, it can often be difficult for the patient to receive adequate care. Not to mention, caring for a loved one who is at the end of life can be emotionally exhausting and physically demanding.

Similar to respite care, Wiser Home Care Services’ End of Life care provides ill loved ones with the appropriate care while giving family members a chance to regroup, and focus on what is most important during these difficult times, spending time with the ill loved one.

Wiser Home Care caregivers are specially trained and experienced with end of life situations, understand the changes and keep comfort a top priority. In addition, WHCS works with several hospice agencies as well as your loved one’s medical professionals. This ensures that there are no miscommunications in care and allows WHCS to plan the necessary end of life care and make the calls that are needed.

Not only does Wiser Home Care Service’s end of life care provide care for the loved one, WHCS caregivers can help around the house with daily tasks so the family can spend the precious time together.

If you care for a loved one and are facing these difficult decisions, please feel free to contact us so that we can develop a comprehensive and comfortable care plan for your family’s needs so that you can spend precious time with your ill loved one.