As the harsh 2014 winter weather dies down, here are a few tips to keep safe through the end of this season.
1. Avoid Slipping on Ice
Icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it easy to slip and fall. While younger people often recover relatively quickly from such injuries, older adults face a harder time.
- Make sure to wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles
- Stay inside until the roads are clear
- Replace a worn cane tip to making 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 — a condition where the body temperature dips too low. So, don’t let indoor temperatures go too low and dress in layers. Your body temperature should never dip below 95 degrees — if it does get medical assistance immediately.
Going outside? Wear:
- warm socks
- a heavy coat
- a warm hat
- a scarf.
- In very cold temperatures, cover all exposed skin. Use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.
3. 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. Use family and friends as often as possible to check in on you and help get you out of the house.
4. Check the Car
Driving during the winter can be hazardous for anyone. But it is especially dangerous for older people, who may not drive as often anymore or whose reflexes may not be as quick as they once were. Get your car serviced. Checking things like the oil, tires, battery and wipers can make a big difference on winter roads.
5. Prepare for Power Outages
Winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure you have easy access to flashlights and a battery-powered radio in case the power goes out. Stockpile warm blankets. Longer power outages can spoil the food in your refrigerator and freezer so keep a supply of non-perishable foods that can be eaten cold on hand.
6. Eat a Varied Diet
Because people spend more time indoors and may eat a smaller variety of foods, nutritional deficits — especially Vitamin D deficiency. Consuming foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, grains and seafood options like tuna and salmon can be very helpful.
7. 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 buying an updated one if you need to.