Friday, September 22, 2017

Winter Safety Tips For Older Adults

Winter is coming, bringing it with dark nights and colder temperatures. At this time of year, we all need to take extra care, but there are added risks for older people. So, if you are a senior citizen, or should you be a relative or caregiver, take a look at the advice in this article. It’s important to take precautions, and we have some tips that will reduce the risk of falling into harm during this chilly season.

Taking care outdoors

While there may be a need to go outdoors occasionally, it is still wise for an older adult to stay indoors as much as possible. There are numerous health risks when spending time out in the cold for long periods. These include hypothermia when the body temperature drops, and frostbite, that will particularly affect those with circulatory problems. Read the article on medicinehealth to give yourself more information about these life-risking conditions.

When outside, it is important to wear as many layers as possible, to conserve body heat. Several layers of thinner clothing will provide more warmth than one layer of something thick, and all the winter essentials, such as a hat, scarf and gloves, should be worn to cover all body parts. There is the added risk of ice and snowy conditions, so extra precautions need to be taken. Footwear needs to be skidproof, and the rubber end of a walking cane should be replaced with an ice tip attachment to provide extra traction when walking.

For extra care, it is important to melt the ice outside the home. Salt will do the trick, as will sugar, bleach, and sand. Should there be a buildup of snow, it is wise to avoid shovelling. Strenuous activities can put a strain on the heart and can cause an older person to fall if they have a problem with balance. Better to let the grandkids do it, when possible!

Care inside the home

The home isn’t always the warmest of places in winter, especially as there will be the temptation to cut costs by not turning the heating on or at least as high as needed. While the older person should still dress up warm, heating should still be a priority. Local governments often provide a winter heating allowance for those over 65, and there may be something the utility company can do to help. There are alternative heating sources, of course, and they can reduce the costs. We have given you some advice on how to prepare the fireplace here at onthefenceonline, and wood and gas stoves are an affordable way of heating particular rooms.

When using alternative heating, it is important to remember the health risks. If they aren’t properly vented and cleaned, there is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Warning signs include headaches, dizziness, and confusion. A carbon monoxide detector should be placed near the heating source, as should a smoke alarm in the event of a fire. You should also look at the devices mentioned on as an extra precaution. There are devices that can be worn or placed around the home and they will alert the emergency services in the event of a fall or illness.

Final word

Be sure to take the extra precautions we mentioned. However, you should also contact medical services immediately if you feel there is cause for alarm. Look after yourself, and care for those around you.

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