Winter Safety Tips and Tricks for Older Adults

by Fit After Fifty
couple ice skating

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels

For most of us, winter means cold and wet weather, short days, and the hope that one day, spring will arrive. Winter conditions can also bring issues that are unique to the season. Here are a few things to consider to keep you safe and secure!

Storm Preparedness

Storms can dump loads of snow and ice at your doorstep, or worse, cause a power outage. You should be prepared for situations when you have no power or no way to get to the store for supplies. Make sure that you have flashlights with plenty of batteries, as well as bottled water, nonperishable food, and warm blankets and clothing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a number of checklists with information about severe weather issues.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

When it’s cold outside, we reach for the thermostat or light a fire. Unfortunately, those heating sources can create odorless, tasteless, and deadly carbon monoxide. This toxic gas can build, undetected, to dangerous levels, so make sure to install a carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries. The rule of thumb when it comes to detectors like this is to change the batteries twice a year and test the units when you change the battery.

Ice and Snow Removal

According to the National Safety Council, falls are the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death. Ice and snow can make for hazardous conditions right outside your door, so be sure to remove snow from walkways and sidewalks or use de-icing products. Since shoveling snow is a known risk factor for heart attacks, consider hiring a service that can clear your walkways for you. Always wear shoes with good, solid soles that have good traction to minimize the risk of slipping.

Warm Layers

As the body ages, temperature regulation becomes less efficient. Various factors contribute to this, such as the thinning of the layer of fat just under the skin and slower constriction of blood vessels. Aging can also make noticing the cold more difficult, so wearing sufficient layers and keeping the thermostat between 68 and 70 degrees F are essential. If the core body temperature gets lower than 95 degrees — just three degrees below normal  — health problems can occur.

Bring It On

If you prepare for the cold, wet, and icy weather, you will have a healthier and happier season. Forewarned is forearmed, so get out there and enjoy the winter wonderland.

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