As the weather get colder, various winter safety risks begin to develop, both inside and outside of the home. If you’re a senior and plan to spend the winter in a colder climate, you need to be aware of winter dangers. Here’s some helpful tips that can help keep you safe and healthy during this chilly season.
Prevent slippery falls
Falls are very common among the elderly and even more so in the winter, as streets, walkways, and stairs can be covered with ice. Younger children and adults are often able to rebound fairly quickly after a fall-related injury, but older adults can have a difficult recovery. Head trauma, lacerations, hip and wrist fractures are common injuries post falls in the elder population. To avoid falls, always wear shoes that are supportive and have nonslip soles. If you use a cane or walker, make sure there is good traction. Ask for assistance when trying to leave the home after a cold wintery night. Have someone assess the porch and stairs for ice.
Keep warm this winter by taking precautions outdoors and indoors. If outside, make sure you’re always wearing weather-appropriate clothing, including a warm coat, hat, scarf, and gloves. Thick socks can help prevent your feet from getting too cold as well. If temperatures are severely cold, stay indoors. Call someone for assistance or for running errands. When inside, dress in layers depending on what you keep your thermostat set at. Try to keep your thermostat no lower than 68 degrees. Even at this temperature, it’s a good idea to wear a sweater in the house. Older people lose body heat very quickly, which can lead to severe cases of hypothermia.
Keep your mind and body in good shape
Many seniors experience seasonal depression during colder months, usually because they have less social contact. If you begin to feel isolated in your home, arrange a check-in schedule with family, friends, and neighbors. You might even want to arrange a visit to stay with a family member during the winter months.