Agencies Offer Lifesaving Tips During Adverse Conditions

Keeping warm during times of extremely cold temperatures is paramount.

The Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter encourages area residents to keep vulnerable loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s disease safe in the cold temperatures. According to a recent press release, it is common for people suffering from dementia to leave familiar surroundings – a dangerous situation given the temperatures.

In order to protect loved ones with Alzheimer’s, watch their behavior. Fidgeting, increased agitation and pacing may be signs that your loved one wants to leave, according to the release, signs that may provide an opportunity to intervene.

Improving home safety is also beneficial to prevent those with Alzheimer’s from wandering. Motion alarms can be installed to alert other residents of someone attempting to leave and moving locks on doors to a higher, out of reach position may also help. Keeping a schedule of activities planned can help someone with Alzheimer’s.

Despite best efforts, wandering may still occur. In such a situation, calling 911 to notify the police of the missing person is important. It may be beneficial to register with a medical alert program like “Safe Return,” which provides first-responders with information about your loved one’s caregivers, medical records and the Alzheimer’s Association.

For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association toll-free helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

According to an American Red Cross press release, there are steps that help avoid frozen water pipes in homes. For one, running water – even at a trickle – can help prevent pipes from freezing. Also, opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing may help. It is beneficial to keep garage doors closed if water lines are located in the garage.

The Red Cross also noted that maintaining a thermostat temperature day and night may also help avoid freezing pipes and that keeping gas tanks full will keep car fuel lines from freezing.

Sue Bobek, Chautauqua County Humane Society’s humane outreach coordinator, outlined how to keep animals safe and warm in harsh winter environments.

Sweaters are a good way to help short-haired dogs preserve heat in the cold, according to Bobek. Animals venturing outside may also require extra food to keep warm.

Bobek mentioned that owners should keep trips outside as short as possible for animals and check the paws of their animals for any cuts caused by ice and check for any ice that could be caught between the animal’s toes and any signs of frostbite on ears.

Bobek added that owners should clean the pet’s paws if the animal has been in contact with rock salt. According to the Humane Society, Home Depot and some pet stores sell pet-safe rock salt for home use that is non-toxic and less abrasive to paws.

“The number one thing people can do (to keep animals safe) is don’t leave them outside,” Bobek said.

If it is absolutely necessary to keep an animal outside in the cold, Bobek said that a dry area free of wind, with straw bedding and fresh water available, is the best option.

To contact the Chautauqua County Humane Society, call 665-2209.