West Orange, N.J. (PRWEB) January 28, 2015
The winter season can present serious challenges to older adults in many parts of the country, whether they live in a private home, apartment, or in a retirement community. The Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC), which owns and manages four senior living communities in northern New Jersey, advises seniors to take additional steps to stay safe during the colder months.
“We take extra precautions during the winter months to ensure our senior residents remain safe, warm and secure,” said Terrence Roselle, the JCHC’s Regional Facilities Director. “Measures in all four of our communities are executed to meet the demands of rough winter weather, when we must contend with near-freezing or below-freezing cold temperatures, ice and snow, and when our seniors must often spend extended periods of time indoors.”
Aside from timely snow and ice removal from all public walkway and the parking lot, Roselle noted that the JCHC offers transportation for residents to area shopping destinations and for cultural outings, and maintains appropriate indoor temperatures to keep residents warm and comfortable. Standby generators are being installed in case of a power outage and emergency protocols are in place in all four JCHC communities.
“After Superstorm Sandy, we held organization-wide programs called ‘JCHC Strong’ in all four of our communities, to educate residents on how to better prepare for extended power outages and weather emergencies,” said Roselle, who heads up the JCHC’s emergency planning task force.
The JCHC offers these helpful tips for seniors, their families, and caregivers to keep elderly or frail individuals safe and healthy during the winter, and to prevent common hazards of the season.
Prevent unnecessary slips and falls. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to broken wrists, ankles or hips, and could suffer severe lacerations to their head or face in the events of a slip and fall.
o Keep walkways clear of ice and snow. Have a reliable snow shoveling service lined up in advance of bad weather and adequate ice melt product on hand for steps and sidewalks.
o Maintain good traction. Wear shoes with non-skid soles and replace worn cane tips. Remove shoes indoors to avoid tracking in melting snow and ice that can lead to dangerously slippery floors.
Avoid frostbite or hypothermia.
o Dress warmly in layers. According to the National Institutes of Health, hypothermia can develop in older adults after relatively short exposure to cold weather; therefore, dress warmly when going outdoors, keep extremities warm, and add hat, scarf, and gloves.
o Keep indoor temperature warm enough. Don’t set the thermostat too low and keep extra blankets on hand for chilly nights in order to maintain proper body temperature.
Prepare the car—and driver—for winter driving. Cold weather is no time for roadside breakdowns or stalled vehicles. Have the car serviced before deep winter hits and have all systems checked to stay safe on the road. Sign up for a roadside assistance program and keep a cell phone charged and on hand for emergencies. Avoid driving in hazardous conditions.
Eat well and take Vitamin D. A varied, nutritional diet is always important at any age. However, less time spent outdoors in direct sunlight means less Vitamin D which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Add supplementation to the diet and/or include grains, tuna and salmon, and fortified milk to avoid Vitamin D deficiency.
Install a carbon dioxide monitor. Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon dioxide poisoning if rooms are not properly ventilated. A carbon dioxide detector is an easy way to avoid this dangerous situation.
Have an emergency kit. Be prepared for an extended power outage with a flashlight (and fresh batteries), warm blankets, non-perishable foods, a cell phone and charger, and a battery-powered radio. Have a family communication plan in place to check on each other.
Stay in touch with loved ones. The winter can be tough on some people because they are indoors so much and they might be more isolated than usual. It’s a good idea for families to check in on their loved ones more frequently, not only to make sure they are doing well physically and emotionally.
About the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey
Founded in 1982, the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC) developed and manages more than 470 apartments in four buildings for older adults in Morris and Essex counties in northern New Jersey. The non-profit organization offers seniors a range of options in terms of services, amenities, location, and cost, all within a traditional Jewish environment. The JCHC provides housing, programs, and services for the independent elderly as well as those who need assisted living. For more information, go to http://www.jchcorp.org