Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

Posted by Shannon on Feb 7th 2024

FEB 8, 2024

Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

Winter can be hazardous for anyone, but especially for senior citizens. They can be more at risk for a number of winter hazards, due to lower response times, more health issues, and more sensitivities. Follow these tips to stay safe during winter conditions.

Older couple walking in snow in the winter

Icy and Snowy Conditions

Senior citizens are more prone to fracture and frequently have more difficulty in recovering from injuries. Therefore, they should take extra care during icy and snowy conditions. Its no fun to stay in for days at a time, but when conditions are bad, seniors should limit how much they are getting out. When they do need to get out, they should do so with great care. Wear good shoes with traction and non-skid soles. Avoid sidewalks and walkways that have not been salted or sanded properly. Always remove shoes when you arrive back at home. Snow and ice that melts off your shoes can lead to slippery conditions.

Cold Temperatures

When the temperature drops below freezing, be sure to adequately bundle up. Be sure that all parts of your body are covered when going outside to avoid frostbite. Most vulnerable areas include nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. Frostbite can happen very quickly, so limit the amount of time you are outside in below freezing temperatures. People with heart disease and other circulation problems are at a higher risk for frostbite. Increase your circulation and avoid frostbite. Adding compression socks can increase your circulation to help prevent frostbite of the toes.

Hypothermia is another risk during cold temperatures. Hypothermia is a condition when your body temperature drops to a dangerous level. This can occur inside or outside. Keep the heat at a comfortable level and dress in layers even when inside.

Winter Depression

With outdoor hazards during the winter, it can be easier for seniors to stay at home for long periods of time. This can lead to depression from isolation. Family members should call and check in on their senior family members often. Arrange a calling tree among your friends and neighbors. Each person should call the next person on the list to make sure everyone in your circle is doing okay.

Older woman looking on phone in living room

Keep the Maintenance on Your Car Active

Seniors should avoid driving in hazardous conditions whenever possible. Aging can lower reaction times which need to be at peak performance during ice and snow driving. Keep your car well-serviced in the event that you do have to be out in the elements. Ensure your car has plenty of antifreeze and wiper fluid. Check the wipers to ensure they can adequately keep the windows free of precipitation. Check the tires regularly. Cold temperatures can affect the air pressure in tires. Make sure your tires have plenty of tread or change them out for snow tires. Finally, keep an emergency kit in your car that includes: a first aid kit; a warm blanket; booster cables; a windshield scraper; shovel; and a flashlight.

Power Outages

If a power outage occurs during cold temperatures, be sure you are prepared. Keep the following where you can easily find them: flashlights; a battery-powered radio; extra batteries; plenty of blankets; and non-perishable food. While the power is out, layer up your clothing and move around as much as possible to keep your body temperature up. If the outage lasts very long, arrange for a good, warm place to go until power is restored.

Winter Diet

Its easy to become deficient of Vitamin D during the winter—especially for seniors. Have your levels checked with your doctor. The doctor may recommend taking a Vitamin D supplement, as well as eating foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, yogurt, egg yolks, and tuna.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Fires

Carbon monoxide poisoning and fires are two more dangers that are increased during the winter. Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide dangers, as well as warming up your car in unsafe conditions. Always make sure that if youre warming up your car, your garage door is open and the tailpipe isnt blocked. Be careful with space heaters, fireplaces or stoves. Keep them clear of curtains, furniture or blankets and dont leave them unattended.
Older woman shoveling snow off of car in winter

Shoveling Snow

Snow shoveling can be grueling and back-breaking work. If you have a heart condition, shoveling can put too much strain on your heart. It can also be dangerous for those with weak bones or problems with balance. If possible, hire a service to shovel your drive and walkways for you. Or hire a neighbor kid for looking for a little extra cash.

Avoid Covid and the Flu

As we have seen during the past few years, Covid and the flu can be especially hazardous for senior citizens. Visit your doctor and follow his or her advice on what preventions can be taken to avoid attracting Covid or the flu.
Winter can be long and hazardous, but thankfully it always ends. Keep yourself safe and healthy until the temperatures warm up and conditions become easier for all.

*This is only general information and is not meant for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Always consult your physician or other health care provider about all health concerns, conditions, and recommended treatments.


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