Winter Safety Tips

Cold Weather and Seniors: Tips to Protect You Indoors and Outdoors

Keeping Seniors Safe in Winter Weather

Winter weather injuries and health problems are challenging enough without being a senior on top of it. One slip on an icy sidewalk can cause a hip or wrist fracture, a head trauma or major lacerations which heal much slower for older people. Any of these injuries can cause complications that end up causing you injury. So what can be done to help with the challenges that winter brings for older adults?

Indoor Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

There are some things you can do to make surviving a bad winter a little easier; below are some suggestions to help:

  • Make sure your cupboard is well stocked with staples and non-perishables. There are two reasons for doing this. One, in case there is a bad storm; you won’t have to go out to get necessary items. Two, if there is a bad storm and the power goes out, you’ll have enough supplies to last until the power comes back on.

  • Never use electric blankets; you may have trouble adjusting the controls in the middle of the night. This can cause burns or raise your body temperature to an unsafe level. Instead, use an extra blanket or two and warm the bed with a hot water bottle. Also, monitor the thermostat and make sure you keep it above 65 degrees during cold weather.

  • Dress in layers to keep warmer. Tip: If you’re having difficulty meeting your utility bill, check out energy assistance programs in your area.

  • If you’re using your fireplace or a gas heater for extra warmth, check the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector. If they are expired, buy new ones as soon as possible.

  • Keep doors closed to rooms which aren’t being used and close your curtains at night to conserve heat. Have weather stripping put around your windows and doors to keep drafts out too.

  • Outdoor Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

  • When you go outside, take extra precautions. Dress warmly by wearing warm socks and a hat on your head. Also wear a heavy coat and gloves. Make sure that what you’re wearing on your feet has good traction plus non-skid soles.

  • Have a neighbor, hired person or family member shovel and salt your sidewalks and driveway. Don’t try and do it yourself if you aren’t physically able or in shape to do it.

  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. If the weather is bad and you have to go out to an appointment or grocery store, ask a family member or neighbor to take you. It’s better to be over cautious than end up with a broken hip.

  • If you are driving your car during the winter months, have the oil, tires, battery, and fluid in your wipers checked. Ensure your road-side assistance is up to date. Keep a couple of extra blankets and an emergency kit in your truck in case you’re disabled on the roadside and have to wait for a tow truck.

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