Staying Safe This Winter
During the winter months, ice, snow, and cold temperatures can make life difficult for everyone. Slippery sidewalks and cold weather can cause a wide range of injuries and illnesses, especially for older adults. The following safety tips for winter can help prevent common cold weather dangers to older adults.
Winter Safety Tips Seniors Should Know
Avoid Slipping on the Ice
Icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it easy to fall. Falls happen frequently for older adults during the winter months. Some falls may cause injuries such as hip and wrist fractures, head trauma, and lacerations.
Consider wearing shoes with good traction and non-skid soles. Stay inside until the roads are clear. Older adults are advised to take their shoes off as soon as they get home. Snow and ice can remain on the soles and can lead to slippery conditions even in the house.
Fight Wintertime Depression
Because it can be dangerous to be outside, many older adults have less contact with others during cold months. This can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Family members should check in on older adults as often as possible. A short, daily phone call can make a big difference. Also, consider a check-in system with neighbors and friends, where each person looks in on one or two others daily.
Keep the Car in Good Shape
Driving during the winter months can be hazardous for anyone. It is especially dangerous for older adults, who may not drive as often or whose reflexes may not be as quick as they once were. Make sure their car is serviced before winter. Checking the oil, tires, battery, and wipers can make a big difference on winter roads. Also make sure older adults have their roadside assistance plan up to date in case of emergencies.
Prepare for Power Outages
Winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure older adults have easy access to flashlights and a battery-powered radio in case the power goes out. Keep a supply of warm blankets handy. Longer power outages can spoil the food in the refrigerator and freezer. Keep non-perishable foods that can be eaten without preparation. If the power goes out, people should wear several layers of clothing, including a hat. Have a winter weather checklist to have everything that could be needed.
Eat a Varied Diet
People spend more time indoors and may eat a smaller variety of foods, causing nutritional deficits, especially a vitamin D deficiency. It is recommended that older adults consume foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, grains, and seafood options like tuna and salmon.
Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Using a fireplace or a gas heater can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Older adults should keep safe by checking the batteries on their carbon monoxide detector and purchasing an updated one if needed.
Consider a Continuing Care Retirement Community
Senior adults who decide to move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), like The Ohio Masonic Home, quickly discover that wintertime can be a wonderful time of year. Residents never have to shovel their sidewalks or driveways. The streets are cleared of snow and ice, and all are salted to keep residents safe. If the cold weather causes a power outage, back-up generators will keep everyone safe and warm.
The lifestyle across all the communities doesn’t change regardless of the weather. There are still groups, programs, and activities to fit everyone’s needs. If residents want to participate in an art class, a bible study or simply have a good, nutritious meal with friends and neighbors that can happen any day of the week. Activities such as these help to prevent social isolation during the winter months.
The Ohio Masonic Home is your go to resource for all things senior living. With three locations in Springfield, Waterville, and Medina, OH, their senior living communities offer 24/7 care and support for independent living, assisted living, and memory care. If you and your loved one are interested in senior living, schedule a tour at one of the scenic and beautiful communities. Call (877) 881-1623 today to learn more about their great senior living options.