Winter is an especially important time to keep an eye on seniors to make sure they are living as safely as possible. In addition to cold weather, ice and snow, the winter season can bring health problems and injury to senior citizens. That’s why it’s important for relatives and friends to check in with their older adult family members, friends and neighbors. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
· Falls are a concern for seniors. Putting road salt, cat litter or sand on sidewalks, steps and driveways will make these areas as slip-free as possible. Seniors should also wear boots with non-skid soles to make a fall less likely to occur. Older adults, especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure should leave snow shoveling to others.
· Cold temperatures make senior citizens susceptible to hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature. Older adults tend to produce less body heat than younger people and it’s hard for them to tell when the temperature is too low. Learn the warning signs of this weather related illness and how to prevent it.
· Keep indoor temperatures no lower than 55 degrees. If going outdoors is necessary, dress in layers to stay warm. Wearing two or three thin layers of loose-fitting clothing is warmer than a single layer of thick clothing.
It’s a good idea to check on elderly loved ones regularly or, if you live out of town, make arrangements for neighbors to check in and provide their number to call in an emergency. With your help, older adults can enjoy the winter months safely.