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Winter Safety Tips for Older Adults

an older couple in winter

Mother Nature’s winter wrath presents challenges at any age, but for older adults, freezing temperatures and the ice and snow they bring can be much more than a minor inconvenience. In the brutal winter months, the outdoors can become treacherous terrain that can increase your risk of injury and illness exponentially.

That said, there is also much to enjoy in the winter wonderland, as long as you bundle up and pay attention to these winter safety tips.

Dress the Part

Older adults lose body heat faster than youngsters, making them prime candidates for frostbite and hypothermia. Don‘t let indoor temperatures dip too low, and dress in layers even when inside to keep your body warm and cozy at all times. If you’re going outside, be sure to generate warmth from head to toe. Warm socks, a heavy coat, good gloves and a scarf are a must. In extreme cold, leave no skin exposed and cover your mouth to protect your lungs.

The Ice is NOT Your Friend

Far too many seniors wind up in the ER with ice-related injuries. All it takes is one misstep on unseen ice to wind up with a fracture, head trauma or major laceration. If you must venture out into the ice and snow, be sure to wear shoes with non-skid soles for better traction. Re-tip a worn cane to keep it from slipping out from under you. Leave the danger outside by taking off your shoes when you return home. Wet shoes can create dangerously slippery conditions indoors.

Cabin Fever is Also a Threat

Being trapped inside may not be detrimental to your physical health but it can have a profoundly negative impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Isolation can lead to a serious case of winter depression. It is important for family members to be aware of this potential problem and stay in close contact with their loved ones through the winter months. To proactively combat loneliness, more and more seniors, are choosing designated active adult communities to guarantee that whatever the weather, there will always be plenty of company, things to keep you active,  and emotional support.

Is Your Car Snow Worthy?

Winter driving is always hazardous but can be even more dangerous in a car that has not been properly serviced. Be sure to get the car inspected before winter hits to make sure the battery, oil, tires, wipers, and defroster are up to the task. If you feel uncomfortable driving in inclement weather, avail yourself of one of the many transportation services, like Lyft. (can we add the link to Lyft that is on our website? We have a partnership with them.) Or, enlist the help of family or friends.

Keep the Flashlight Handy

Winter weather makes power outages a very real possibility. It can be a fun adventure or a scary nightmare, depending on how prepared you are. Keep flashlights and extra batteries handy, as well as plenty of extra blankets. Lengthy outages can lead to spoiled food in the fridge so be sure to stockpile plenty of emergency, non-perishable food. Dress in layers and keep moving to keep your body temperature stable.  

Follow these simple winter safety tips and surviving the cold will be a breeze.