Now that we’re in the midst of winter, cold weather, snow and ice are starting to make an appearance. With this season there are a few hazards that seniors should watch out for to stay safe:
Hypothermia. Cold weather deaths are frighteningly common in seniors. According to the National Institute on Aging, seniors are especially susceptible to hypothermia since response to cold can be diminished due to certain medications, or conditions like diabetes. Even small drops in temperature can cause hypothermia in older adults. This can be prevented by dressing warmly (even around the house), and keeping the home at a warm temperature.
Frostbite. Frostbite is an injury to the body caused by freezing. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. According to the CDC, risk for frostbite is increased in people who are not dressed appropriately for cold weather, and in people with reduced blood circulation. Watch out for frostbite by dressing warmly in cold conditions, and be especially careful in the cold if you have issues with blood circulation.
Icy conditions. Ice on walkways can cause slips and falls which can be extremely dangerous for older adults. One out of three seniors suffers a fall each year, and many of those falls happen during winter. Walkways should be de-iced as soon as possible in order to keep them safe for pedestrians. Icy roads are a danger for drivers as well – seniors should stay safe by avoiding driving when road conditions are icy.
These are just a few things to be careful of – every region comes with its own hazards, so be on alert and stay safe and warm this winter!