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SEASONAL ADVICE

Autumn safety tips for the elderly

With the autumn comes increased risks and hazards for some older people.

October 10, 2022

Elderly person in autumn

We hear a lot about some of the seasonal risks to older adults, such as the hazards that come with heatwaves and some of the ways in which the elderly can be more vulnerable in the winter. However, autumn can also be a time of year where there’s an increased number of hazards as we get older.

With weather considerations, quickly shortening daylight hours and major changes to the outdoor environment, autumn can be a challenging time of year for many.

In this article, we share some autumn safety tips for the elderly. Whether you’re an older adult yourself or are looking for ways to help an elderly loved one through this season, we hope you’ll find the advice useful at this time of year.

 

Raking leaves in Autumn

Safety when doing autumn jobs in the garden

If you, or your older loved one, have a garden or outside space to look after at home, there are often some maintenance tasks required before the winter sets in. Whether its clearing guttering, raking leaves, tending to plants or any number of other jobs, you might have an autumn home maintenance checklist that you want to complete.

However, it’s important to consider the potential hazards involved and the reality that, as we get older, some of these tasks can become more challenging to complete.

Some potential risks could be:

  • Slipping on wet leaves that have fallen to the ground
  • Black ice in the mornings as the temperatures dip overnight
  • Tripping over things in the garden when there is low light
  • Falling or feeling dizzy and unsteady when using steps or ladders to tackle higher-up jobs

While you might still be fully physically able to do some or all these tasks, there is an increased risk of having an accident because age can affect things like balance, vision, and reaction speeds.

Our safety tips include:

  • Asking a relative, friend or neighbour to help with these garden tasks, so you’re not trying to do them when you’re on your own
  • Tackle autumn jobs in the garden on brighter, sunnier days, so there is as much light and visibility of potential hazards as possible
  • Keep paths and walkways in your garden or outdoor space as free of fallen leaves as possible, by raking or sweeping regularly
  • Take extra care outside when temperatures have been low overnight, in case of hidden ice or frost causing slips
  • Wear grippy shoes or boots outside at this time of year
  • Consider wearing a personal alarm that works in the home and garden, so if you do have an accident, you can reach help 24/7.

 

Autumn walk

Safety tips when out and about during autumn

If you or your older loved one are usually active and like to spend time outside of the home, whether it’s shopping, visiting friends or family, socialising or simply going for a walk, there may be extra risks during the autumn.

Our tips for getting out and about safely at this time of year include:

  • Dressing for the conditions, because the older we get, the less well our bodies can regulate temperature. Warm layers on colder days, sturdy footwear and waterproof jackets or coats can make a big difference during this season, when sudden rain showers and tricky conditions underfoot are likely
  • Consider wearing a GPS-enabled personal alarm designed to be worn when out and about, so that if something happens, you can reach help and they’ll have your exact location, anywhere in the UK.

 

Test smoke alarm in Autumn

Safety tips for inside the home during autumn

While inside our homes, things might not change too much with the seasons, there are some essential things to consider during the autumn especially.

Some top safety considerations include:

  • Make sure that there is adequate lighting indoors, especially as daylight hours are shorter, to help prevent avoidable slips, trips and falls around the home. Light bulbs may need checking and replacing or additional lights could be installed if needed
  • Reduce clutter or things on the floor in hallways, stairs, landings and other walkways in the home to lower the risk of causing a fall
  • Ensure that carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms are tested and operational. With heating used more at this time of the year, there could be increased risks in this area. You can also consider a home monitoring system for extra peace of mind.

 

Other autumn wellbeing tips for older people

Many people, of any age, experience lower mood at times during the autumn for a variety of reasons. It can be that the lack of sunlight has an impact, along with spending more time indoors due to the poor weather.

Many people consider summer the peak time for allergies, but seasonal and environmental allergies can be triggered in autumn too. Allergies in the elderly can be problematic, particularly if they have pre-existing health concerns.

While anyone can experience this, it can be especially challenging for older people, as they may not be able to socialise as much as usual at this time of year and can feel isolated and lonely. They might find it more difficult to stay active, which is also known to combat low mood. Our tips to help with this include:

  • Try to go for walks or get some time outside during the brightest part of the day, even if only for a short period
  • Check in on elderly loved ones in person when possible, or by phone or other means to help combat isolation
  • Try to be as active as possible, even if this means doing exercises for elderly people designed for indoor settings because the weather isn’t great outside
  • Try to prioritise getting enough good quality sleep, as this can have a huge impact on mood and general wellbeing.

As well as taking on board some of our autumn wellbeing and safety tips, you may also want to consider a personal alarm system for additional peace of mind that is beneficial during this season but also all-year-round. 

You can view all of our personal alarms to find the right solution for your loved one.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

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Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure


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