The fall weather brings cooler temperatures and while you the caregiver may welcome a little chill, your older loved one may be downright uncomfortable. There are a number of issues to consider as the weather turns colder. Keep in mind older bodies need a little more care.
Get Out the Blankets, Throws and Sweaters
Even here in the Sacramento Valley during the first week in October, the weather has turned a lot cooler. It feels good to me, but for my mother — well that’s a different story. Even to work in the yard in the sunshine she puts on a hat, a long sleeved shirt, a light jacket and warm socks. What feels fine to me feels cold to her. It’s the same for my dad. He always has on a hat, a tee shirt, a long sleeved shirt and a jacket! I tease him. “We’re not in Alaska, daddy!”
So now’s the time to make sure there’s a blanket or a throw where your loved one sits to read and watch television. An extra blanket at the foot of their bed is also a great idea. They’ll need to have sweaters and hats when they go out and warm socks on their feet. Don’t forget to put a throw in the car. They always come in handy. As fall turns to winter, it’s a good time to invest in some thermal underwear. Both my parents love to wear them when it gets really cold.
Skin Care for Cold Weather
Older skin is also a lot more vulnerable to the cold weather. We start using the heater which dries out the air and older skin can really suffer. Make sure to get a good moisturizing lotion that is free from fragrances. Your loved one will enjoy you pampering them a bit by rubbing lotion on their hands, arms and feet. Don’t forget their face! It can also suffer during the cold weather.
Hydration from the Inside Out
Fall is the perfect time to for a good pot of soup. It’s a great way to help you and your loved one stay hydrated and who doesn’t love the warmth of a good cup of soup? My mother’s favorite is broccoli cheese with a warm piece of bread, but any kind of soup that’s not loaded with salt is a great way to keep them eating.
Hot tea, spiced hot cider and warm chocolate milk can be so comforting. Anything they like to drink is a good idea to help keep them from becoming dehydrated — a major problem for older folks. Be sure to carry a container of water in the car and in your purse. Get them used to drinking water often. It will save you a lot of visits to the doctor.
Slippers and Warm Towels
One of the worst times to be cold is when you step out of the bath or shower. Think ahead and throw the towels to be used in the dryer with their nightwear. I’ll never forget the warm blanket the nurse put on me after I gave birth. It felt like I was wrapped in love. Your loved one will think you’re just the best.