Winter Safety Tips for Seniors
The winter season can be dangerous for anyone of any age. But it is the older members of the community who are most at risk during the cold and dark months of winter. As people get older, they become more susceptible to hypothermia. And, while kids may get straight back up again after a fall on the ice, older bones are more brittle and break more easily.
Now, we don’t want to be accused of trying to preach to our elders. After all, someone with sixty years plus years on the clock will be well-aware of most of these tips. Even so, a gentle reminder might not be out of order. And some of these pointers might be useful for carers too. So, here are ten tips to keep older people safe this winter.
1. Stock Up for Winter
It’s always good to get out in the fresh air. But if a winter storm hits, the safest place for an older person is tucked up in the warmth of their home. So, it’s a good idea to stock up with food and other essential supplies before the cold weather closes in. Remember that there might be power outages as well. So, keep a store of approximately seven days’ worth of non-perishable foods, like tinned and dried food, and make sure there are a flashlight and spare batteries in the house.
2. Eat a Healthy and Varied Diet
The stores of tinned food mentioned above are only for emergencies. When you can get out or order food in, it would be best to try to stick to a healthy, varied diet. Older people will probably spend a lot of time indoors in the winter. So, they could develop Vitamin D deficiency because of the lack of exposure to sunlight. A varied winter diet that includes grains, milk, seafood, and cheese will help keep Vitamin D levels topped up.
3. Monitor the Temperature at Home
Older people lose body heat faster than younger people. You don’t need to be outside to get hypothermia. So, keep a close eye on the temperature in your home during the winter. It is advisable to keep the temperature inside your house at around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. And it would be a good idea to wear layers of warm clothing indoors too. You can always take a layer off if you feel too warm.
4. Be Careful with Space Heaters
Space heaters provide extra warmth in the home right where you need it. However, space heaters are responsible for a considerable number of home fires. And older people are 2.5 times more likely to die in a house fire. So, limit your use of space heaters. And don’t put clothes to dry on heaters or leave space heaters unattended. Be careful not to leave cords trailing across the floor as well.
5. Have a Good Supply of Medications
If you take regular medication, make sure you keep enough prescribed medicines in the home to see you through several days. It’s also a good idea to ensure that you have an adequate supply of general medical supplies, like dressings, antiseptic ointment, and pain relief medicines. A quick trip to the local pharmacy may not be possible if the weather gets dreadful.
6. Monitor Carbon Monoxide Levels in Your Home
When it gets cold outside, you will want all your windows and doors locked up tight and draft-free. But your efforts to keep the cold outside may also keep carbon monoxide trapped inside. Carbon monoxide can be emitted by heaters, generators, and open fires, which you will be using more in the winter. If carbon monoxide builds up inside your home, it can be lethal. So, install a carbon monoxide detector so that you can monitor the levels of CO in your home.
7. Get Frequent Weather Updates
If you plan on going out during the winter, check up on the weather forecast before leaving home. Remember, it may look sunny and bright outside your window, but it may be snowing only twenty miles from your home. And the weather can be very changeable in winter too.
8. Wear Sensible Clothing If You Go Out
If you are a bit unsteady on your feet, it would be best to avoid going out in the snow and ice. But, if you do go out, be sure to wear layers of warm clothing and non-slip shoes. Even if you only plan on taking a short drive in your car, you should prepare for the worst. Your short trip could turn into a long journey if you get rerouted because of an accident or a snowdrift. And, in extreme weather, there is the possibility that you could get trapped in your car for a while.
9. Prepare the Car for Winter
Winter driving can be hazardous for anyone. But seniors need to be even more cautious when driving in the winter. Have your car serviced before winter sets in so that all the fluid levels are topped up and the tires are checked. And make sure that your AAA membership is up to date. If there is a storm on the way, it would be best not to drive in the snow at all if you can avoid it.
10. Stay in Touch with Loved Ones
Finally, winter can be a lonely time for older people, especially if you live alone. Be sure to check in frequently with loved ones for a chat and let them know you are Ok. The cold and dark winter nights can be depressing for everyone. But the winter blues can hit older people more than most. So, if you have elderly relatives or friends, please make an extra special effort to stay in touch with the seniors in your life this winter.
Wintertime does pose challenges for older people. But, hopefully, the above tips will serve as a reminder to keep warm, eat well, and follow commonsense safety precautions. The most important thing you must do during the winter months is pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you feel cold, you need to put on warmer clothes or turn up the heat. If you don’t feel confident about going out in the snow and ice, stay indoors. And, most crucially, if you need help, ask for it.
We hope that these winter safety tips for seniors have been helpful. Please share this post with your friends and family on social media if you did find some useful advice on this page.
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Many thanks for visiting Best Panic Alarm. We appreciate you taking the time to visit our site. Have a happy and safe winter. And, remember, the sun will be shining again soon! Until next time, stay safe!