During the winter, everyone faces new challenges with the changes in temperature and precipitation. However, for seniors, the negative impacts of cold weather, icy sidewalks, and other winter problems become more serious. If you are a senior or have one in your life, incorporate these ways to protect yourself or your loved ones during the cold months of the year.
Have Someone Shovel Snow and Salt Icy Sidewalks for You to Increase Winter Safety
Two extremely dangerous winter activities include shoveling snow and walking on icy sidewalks. Even young people can experience heart attacks from the exertion required for shoveling show. Plus, the healthiest individuals can still sustain serious injuries from slipping on icy sidewalks.
Snow shoveling poses extra hazards for those who do it. First, your circulation system already works hard to keep your body warm in the snow. Secondly, pushing and moving heavy snow adds to the effort that your heart must do. If possible, hire someone to shovel the snow in front of your home and salt down sidewalks. Alternatively, find ways to have your needs met within your community.
For instance, at Southfield, you don’t have to leave the community for restaurant-quality meals. With our dining facility that offers in-person dining and take-out meals, you can enjoy the foods that you love without going out or cooking.
Stay Warm for Winter Safety
During the winter, keeping warm is vital to your health. When your body gets too cold for too long, a condition called hypothermia sets in. Preventing hypothermia may be more difficult for seniors with conditions that may impact blood circulation and feel in their extremities. For example, diabetes can make the toes less able to feel sensations, such as being too cold. Therefore, frostbite or hypothermia can happen easier for those with this problem because they don’t recognize the increasing cold.
Learn the signs of cold injuries and illness and get immediate medical care if you identify them in yourself. These symptoms include the following:
- Changes in skin color
- Feeling very tired or confused in cold weather
- Numbness in the extremities
- Feeling weak while in cold temperatures
When inside, maintain a comfortable temperature. Use electric blankets or space heaters to eliminate chills in drafty spots. If you use gas or have a fireplace, make sure that you have carbon monoxide detectors installed near each bedroom to alert you in case of a leak. Carbon monoxide does not have an odor or color, making a detector the only way that you will know if this dangerous gas is in your home.
Use Caution When Traveling in Winter for Senior Safety
Traveling during the winter requires you to take extra precautions if you drive yourself. You should have a kit in your car if you breakdown that includes the following:
- Snack bars and bottled water
- Rock salt and a shovel
- A first aid kit
- A flashlight
However, if you live at Southfield Senior Living, you don’t need to worry about carrying all of these things with you. We have transportation services that include both on-demand and regular trips. Letting us drive allows you to avoid the stress and hassle of winter driving while still getting out and being as active as you wish.
When you do go outside, dress in layers; however, if you get wet while in the cold, change into dry clothing as soon as possible. Even if you walk through a puddle that soaks through your socks, change into fresh socks as soon as possible to reduce the chances of frostbite or hypothermia.
Getting regular exercise can also help you to stay warm and promote senior safety and health. However, if your favorite activities require warm, sunny weather to enjoy outside, you can find new things to do in our fitness and exercise center. We also offer various indoor activities for seniors, such as crafts, baking, trivia, and more.
Contact Southfield for an Independent Living Center that Makes Winter a Safer Time for Seniors
If you want an independent living community where you can turn over mundane tasks like housekeeping and cooking to someone else, contact us at Southfield at 855.947.3838. We have activities to keep you connected as much as you want. Additionally, you can focus on living your life on your terms instead of spending all your time tending to a large house. Find out more about our amenities and see if we fit into your plans for a robust retirement.