Winter can bring many challenges for older adults who are more vulnerable to health issues and injuries during the cold season. Some of the dangers that our loved ones could face include hypothermia, frostbite, falls on icy and slippery grounds, winter illnesses, and car accidents. If you are concerned about your family and loved ones’ safety in winter, be sure to take note of the following winter safety tips.
Contrary to popular belief, our loved ones can be at risk of hypothermia even though they are indoors. Hypothermia occurs when our body temperatures drop to a dangerously low level. Hence, even though your loved ones do not intend to venture outdoors, they should still dress warmly. Here are some tips for keeping warm: remember to wear your thermals and consider layering up with two to three thin layers of clothing. Wearing a few thin layers can keep you warmer than a thick sweater. You can also put on socks and mittens for extra warmth. When you’re indoors, set your heater to a minimum temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you need to head outside, ensure that you take precautions against frostbite. Frostbite occurs when your body experiences damage to the skin. Ensure that all parts of your body including your ears, fingers, cheeks, nose, and toes are covered up. If your loved one has poor blood circulation or a heart condition, he or she may be at higher risk of getting frostbite.
To prevent falls in icy and snowy conditions, you and your loved one should take extra care when you’re outdoors. Ensure that the pavements you walk on are not wet or iced over. Remember to wear boots or shoes with good traction that can prevent you from slipping. It would be ideal to shovel away the snow on your house pathway too.
Winter-Proof Your Car
To reduce the probability of car accidents, you should winter-proof your car before the start of winter. Check your tire pressure and tire tread to ensure that the tires have enough traction for the road. Clean your headlights to improve visibility. To save yourself the hassle and for peace of mind, you and your loved ones can also winterize your car at a dealership.
In winter, you and your loved ones should avoid driving on icy roads, and be extremely careful when driving on overpasses or bridges. If possible, do consider alternative routes. Avoid driving in winter if you’re a beginner or amateur driver. However, if you do need to drive, it would be best to have a seasoned driver with you.
Consult Your Doctor
To avoid major health scares or problems during the winter season, you and your loved ones should visit the doctor before winter arrives. Some medical conditions might make it hard for one’s body to stay warm. For example, thyroid problems and diabetes can make it hard for one to maintain a normal body temperature. If you or your loved one has any of these conditions, your doctor can provide professional advice.
If your loved one has dementia, the winter season may pose a threat to his or her safety. During winter, your loved one with dementia should never be left alone. You should arrange for caregivers to provide round-the-clock care to ensure that your loved one stays safe and warm during the winter months.