During the winter months, ice, snow and cold temperatures can make life challenging for everyone. Slippery sidewalks and cold weather can cause a wide range of injuries and illnesses, especially for seniors.
Below is some helpful advice for preventing common winter dangers that the elderly population faces.
- Avoid Slipping on Ice
Falls are a common occurrence for senior citizens during winter months. Make sure to wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles, and stay inside until the roads are clear. Replace a worn cane tip to make walking easier. Take off shoes as soon as you return indoors because often snow and ice attach to the soles and once melted, can lead to slippery conditions inside.
- Dress for Warmth
Cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia. Don’t let indoor temperatures go too low and dress in layers. Going outside? Wear warm socks, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf.
- Fight Wintertime Depression
Because it can be difficult and dangerous to get around, many seniors have less contact with others during cold months. This can breed feelings of loneliness and isolation. To help avoid this, family members should check in on seniors as often as possible, even with just a phone call.
- Check the Car
Driving during the winter can be hazardous for anyone. Get your car serviced before wintertime hits.
- Prepare for Power Outages
Winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure you have access to a flashlight and a battery operated radio. Make sure you have a pile of blankets and non-perishable foods that can be eaten cold on hand.
- Eat a Varied Diet
Because people spend more time indoors and may eat a smaller variety of foods, nutritional deficits, especially Vitamin D deficiency can be a problem. Milk, grains, tuna and salmon all are a great option to get Vitamin D.
- Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure your safety by checking the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector and buy an updated one if you need to.
The most important tip is to ask for help! If you are faced with a situation call a family member or a professional to help. With planning and awareness, you can stay healthy!