Living in Michigan through the winter months can be a challenge for some. Some people might say they are immune to it and others actually enjoy it. But for senior citizens it is crucial to be safe and know their limits. Winter brings ice, snow and cold temperatures and with that comes challenges for seniors challenged that can cause a wide range of injuries and illnesses. Here are some tips for seniors in the winter months.
- Watch for ice – icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it easy to slip and fall. Falls are a common occurrence for senior citizens especially in the winter months. Often those falls can cause hip or wrist fractures, head trauma and major lacerations. Older people have a harder time recovering from injuries like that they are the leading cause of death in men and women over the age of 65. What you can do is wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles, and stay inside until the roads are clear. If you use a cane make sure to replace a worn cane tip. Once you return indoors be sure to take your shoes off because the snow can attach to the sole, and once melted can lead to a slippery situation.
- Dress for warmth –cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia – a condition where the body temperature dips too low. More than half of hypothermia related deaths were of people over the age of 65. Don’t let indoor temperatures go too low and dress in layers. If going outside wear warm socks, a heavy cot, a hat, gloves and a scarf. In very cold temperatures be sure to cover all exposed skin. Use a scarf to cover your mouth which helps protect your lungs.
- Fight wintertime depression – since it can be dangerous and difficult to get around many seniors have less contact with others during cold months. This can bring of feelings of isolation and loneliness and even boredom. Family members should check in as often as possible; even a short daily phone call can make a big difference. Seniors can even arrange a check in system with neighbors, friends or family where each person looks in on one or two others daily. This can help the senior not feel as lonely.
- Prepare for power outages – winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure to have easy access to flashlights and a battery powered radio in case the power goes out. Stockpile warm blankets. Longer power outages can spoil the food in your refrigerator and freeze so keep a supply of non-perishable foods that can be eaten cold on hand. If the power should go out be sure to wear lots of layers of clothing, including a hat. Move around as much as possible to raise your body temperature.
Wintertime can pose some challenges for seniors but with some planning and awareness you will stay healthy and experience the joys of springtime soon enough.
If you or a loved one needs help with wintertime or a companion please call Relevar Home Care at 586-493-7677 or visit our website at Relevar.com.