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SENIOR SAFETY TIPS FOR THE WINTER
By Rebekah Alcalde
With the weather getting colder, it’s important to be prepared for the changes. While wonderful and festive, winter also brings many challenges for older adults. Chilly atmosphere brings a higher risk of illness, and icy sidewalks increase the likelihood for nasty falls and injuries. Here are some useful tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this season.
Dress warmly and with layers
Under extreme conditions, cold temperatures can lead to frostbite or hypothermia. But even in less dire circumstances, the body’s immune system and ability to fight infection is naturally weakened. It’s the reason we associate cold weather with colds and flu. Plan on dressing for health success – warm socks, scarves and coats. Wearing layers can also be helpful on days with unpredictable weather. You can always take off layers if you get too warm.
Salt sidewalks and avoid ice
Make sure you salt sidewalks and any other walkways – or hire someone to do it for you. Icy surfaces are the perfection environment for a hazardous fall, and it is well worth the cost to avoid one.
Prepare for weather-related power outages
Unfortunately, storm often bring about power outages. Create an emergency kit and a backup plan, complete with flashlights, warm blankets and nonperishable food. Consider getting a generator if possible. Energy companies do their best to reinstate power, but severe storms can create a long list of people in need, and it sometimes takes time to get everything fixed.
Get your car checked
It may not be the first thing on your list, but getting your car checked out is extremely important for the winter season. Automobile failure while driving is even more dangerous with icy surfaces. Effective tires and even windshield wipers are more useful than you’d think. Try to get your car looked at before the cold weather hits so you can avoid any unsafe conditions.
Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working
Believe it or not, carbon monoxide risks are higher during the colder months since we spend more time inside. Using fireplaces, lanterns or gas heaters indoors can lead to carbon monoxide buildup and poising in high doses. Make sure your detectors are working and have fresh batteries to keep yourself safe.
Stay connected and active
The holiday season, and the cold weather it brings, can often be isolating for many seniors. It can also lead to seasonal depression – due to the lack of sunshine and inability to get outside. If you know someone who could use a friend, try to reach out. Even a phone call makes a big difference. Regular indoor activities with friends and loved ones are also very important.
This information is provided by CarePatrol of Baltimore, a senior housing placement agency that serves the Baltimore city and county areas. If you or your loved one need to find a new home, consider talking to a CarePatrol housing placement specialist. They will sit down with you, assess your needs and financial situation, and offer the best options they can find. They are also available for tours and guidance during your final search. You can contact a specialist at (410) 844-0800 or CarePatrolBaltimore@CarePatrol.com. Also find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CarePatrolBaltimore.