Many of us look forward to the end of summer—the cooler autumn temperatures,
the changing leaves, the chance to pull that favorite sweater out of storage,
and so on. However, autumn also brings a few unique risks and dangers
to our elderly neighbors and loved ones. What are some of these risks,
and how can we take steps to protect the elderly during this season?
Bright fall colors can be beautiful, but when the leaves fall to the ground,
they can present a hazard for slips and falls, especially when it rains.
To reduce the risk, clear walkways regularly of fallen leaves using a
blower or broom, and be sure to rake and bag up the leaves falling on
lawns and gardens. Seniors can also protect themselves by wearing shoes
with good traction.
Frost on the grass can be quite dangerous for the elderly, especially those
prone to falling. Likewise, puddles on sidewalks can develop a film of
black ice. Take extra time to escort the elderly if they need to go out
on cold mornings. Shoes or boots with good traction can also help. Better
yet, wait a couple of hours until the sun melts the frost.
Using a heater or fireplace for the first time in autumn may be dangerous
for people of all ages, but especially for the elderly who have slower
response times or may become disoriented. Have your elderly love ones’
heating systems inspected by a professional before first use, and have
chimneys inspected and/or swept to remove any possible obstructions. Additionally,
install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor, and test them regularly.
Many people these days underestimate the dangers of influenza, particularly
for the elderly. As flu season approaches, make sure your senior loved
ones get their annual flu vaccine—and don’t forget to get
one yourself. The vaccine is covered by most insurance plans, and pharmacies
and grocery stores often make them available at a low cost.
The elderly aren’t the only ones who may be vulnerable in colder
weather. Check out our post
here to learn about keeping the kids safe, too.
If you or a loved one is hurt due to negligence related to the weather, call our
Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys to see how we can help.