During the winter season, aging adults face an increased risk of multiple health concerns and injuries attributed to the drastic cold weather. They can include frostbite, falls in snow and ice, and hypothermia. It’s best to be prepared for such situations to prevent such events from happening. Here are a few useful winter safety tips, especially for older adults.
In the winter, it can be especially easy to slip and fall in icy or snowy conditions. Do take the necessary precautions as such:
- Wear boots equipped with non-skid soles to prevent slippage
- Clear the snow away from the walkways at home, or get someone else to do it
- If you use a walking cane, replace the rubber tip when it is worn out
- You can also fit an ice pick-like attachment on the end of the cane for more traction
Frostbite happens when the body sustains damage to the skin which may reach the bone. In almost all cases, the extreme cold is very likely to cause frostbite. The body parts farthest from the heart are the ones most susceptible to the occurrence of frostbite. These parts can include the toes, fingers, cheeks, nose, ears and in severe cases lead to a loss of limbs.
You or your loved one must ensure full body coverage before going out. If the skin turns dark, red, or begins hurting, seek shelter indoors immediately. The warning signs of frostbite can include:
- Hard or waxy skin
- White, greyish-yellow, or ashy skin
When frostbite occurs, ensure to let the affected area run under warm water.
Hypothermia sets in when the body temperature decreases below the healthy levels. Body temperature can drop when exposed to the cold for prolonged periods as heat loss can begin very quickly. Seniors face a higher risk of hypothermia naturally due to an aging body. The warning signs include fatigue, weakness, walking difficulties, and slowing heart rate.
Do take the following precautions to prevent hypothermia:
- Keep dry
- Wear multiple layers to protect lungs from cold air
- Stay indoors or don’t stay outside too long
- Put on essential winter wear like a winter coat, boots, hats, scarf, and gloves
Injury While Shoveling Snow
Snow shoveling is infamously one of the evils of winter. Do be careful while shoveling as it is very strenuous and takes the heart longer to keep you warm in the cold temperatures. It can be extremely dangerous if you or your loved one has an existing issue with balance, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Consult your healthcare provider to ascertain the safety of the work.
Live Independently at Conservatory At Plano (CAP)
If you or your loved one want an affordable and active lifestyle without daily maintenance, our senior independent living community is an ideal solution! At Conservatory At Plano, our exclusive senior living programs provide our residents with chef-prepared meals, a myriad of activities and events, timely housekeeping, and private transportation to take them to wherever they want.
Contact us to find out more about our programs!