Outsmart Jack Frost with these hints for staying warm and healthy this season.
As the temperatures dip and snow falls in many areas of the country, winter weather is officially here. Outsmart the effects of Jack Frost with these winter safety tips that can help you stay warm and healthy this season:
- Know the signs of hypothermia
- Keep warm indoors
- Outsource snow removal
- Wear high-traction shoes and boots
- Prepare for power outages
- Fend off illness
- Protect your hearing aids
Learn more about these winter weather safety tips for seniors below.
1. Know the signs of hypothermia
Hypothermia can happen to seniors when the body temperature dips below 95 degrees. It may be most often associated with shivering outside in the cold, but hypothermia can happen anywhere – even inside a cold house. Here are some signs of hypothermia to watch for:
- Slurring words or slower than normal speech
- Pale skin
- Cold extremities (feet and hands)
- Feeling or acting sleepy
- Trouble moving
- Slow, shallow breathing
Certain conditions and medications may make some seniors more susceptible to hypothermia. Make sure to discuss your own personal risk with your doctor and take precautions if this is the case. If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of hypothermia, it’s critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
2. Keep warm indoors and outdoors
There are a few things you can do to make your home warm and safe in the winter. Start by keeping your heat set to a comfortable temperature for you. If you’re concerned about lowering your heating bill, you can close the vents in rooms you’re not using and keep interior doors shut to ensure the heat stays in your living area. Dress warmly during the day and overnight when your body temperature can dip a degree or two. Long underwear and flannel sheets are cozy options to keep you insulated. When going outdoors to hang holiday lights, stroll to the park, or play with your grandkids, wear cold-weather clothing, including warm gloves and socks. And be sure your house is well-insulated, too. If you feel cold drafts around the windows, look into winterizing them so you don’t lose heat.
3. Outsource snow removal
If you live on a property that requires snow removal, consider outsourcing this task to a friend, family member, or hire a professional service if you think it could put your health at risk. Shoveling snow is a strenuous exercise that can put stress on your heart, making it work overtime in extreme temperatures. It can also pose dangers if you experience difficulties with balance or don’t often engage in high-intensity exercise.
4. Wear high-traction shoes and boots
When you’re venturing outdoors on walks or errands, one of the most important winter safety tips for seniors is to take precautions to help prevent falls in slippery and icy conditions. Shoes and boots with good traction and non-skid soles can mitigate your fall risk, as can walking only on cleared pathways. Adding salt, sand, or cat litter to driveways and sidewalks can add a layer of slip-free protection.
5. Prepare for power outages
In many parts of the country, winter storms can knock out power lines from time to time. To stay warm during an outage, consider having a backup generator to allow access to a heat source. Also keep plenty of blankets so you can bundle up, and stockpile nonperishable food so you’ll have supplies on-hand in case of an extended outage. Check out an example of a preparedness list you can use as a guide, or make your own.
If you have trouble hearing, learn how to best prepare for emergencies like power outages with these disaster preparation tips for people with hearing loss.
6. Fend off illness
Viral infections like colds and flu take center stage in the winter months when the frigid temperatures and less sunlight can weaken the immune system. Precautions such as the flu shot, getting plenty of sleep, frequent hand washing, and eating immunity-boosting foods like fruits and vegetables can help give your body added protection.
Has your doctor recommended other screenings and vaccinations besides the flu shot? Check out this printable preventive care guide for seniors to learn what you can expect.
7. Protect your hearing aids
If you wear hearing aids or use another assistive listening device, protecting them from extreme temperatures and moisture in the winter can help ensure they function well for you all season long. Avoid leaving them near a window or in a cold car, wear earmuffs or a headband when outside, and use a dehumidifier if your home has excess moisture. Discover more on these and other tips for protecting your hearing aids in the winter
Whether you embrace the cold weather or prefer to hibernate indoors until spring, these winter weather safety tips can help you enjoy the season without a hitch. For more tips on healthy senior living, visit our blog today.