The new year brings some of the coldest days we will endure and members of the elderly population are particularly vulnerable during these days. The physical changes that occur during the aging process, coupled with weather-related events like snow and ice, can make winter a potentially dangerous season for the elderly. Care.com published an article called “7 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors.” It highlights some key factors to keep in mind if you are concerned for yourself or an elderly neighbor, friend, or family member.
Prepare for possible power outages by ensuring that flashlights and batteries are readily available. Make sure blankets are also handy. Ensure that non-perishable food items are also available. Double-check to see that batteries are operational in carbon monoxide detectors. Care.com notes that use of fireplaces and gas heaters can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Taking the time to have tires, battery, oil, and windshield wipers serviced can be essential when braving winter roads.
Isolation can be a risk factor for elders regardless of the season, but wintertime cold can mean spending even less time socializing with others. Work with your loved ones or neighbors to establish a check-in plan either in-person or by telephone at least a couple of times per week. Frostbite and hypothermia can be the result of exposed skin and extreme cold temperatures. According to Care.com, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that “more than half of hypothermia-related deaths were of people over the age of 65.” Lastly, take steps to reduce the heightened risk of falls in icy conditions. Wear shoes with proper traction and be sure to avoid tracking water into your home, which can cause slips.
For more information, you can find the Care.com article at https://www.care.com/c/stories/5447/7-winter-safety-tips-for-seniors. The state of Connecticut has prepared for the extreme cold by setting up warming centers throughout the state, including at local senior and community centers. To locate your local warming center, visit https://www.211ct.org.
At Weatherby & Associates, PC, one of our top priorities is to help our elderly clients to be as safe as possible in their chosen homes. If you have an elderly loved one, make sure to check in with them throughout these very cold winter days and nights to ensure that they have all the resources they need to remain warm and safe. If you have any questions about our practice, call the office at (860) 769-6938.