Sub-freezing temperatures and hazardous road conditions can make life difficult for anyone, but seniors should take extra precautions to stay safe and warm during this extreme winter weather.
• Icy sidewalks and driveways increase the risk of falls and injuries so if you absolutely must go outside, be sure to wear shoes with non-skid soles and make sure your cane or walker tips aren’t worn. If possible, salt or shovel heavily traveled walkways.
• Snow and ice can strain power lines and lead to power outages. Make sure you have easy access to a flashlight, weather radio, warm blankets, a charged cell phone and non perishable food. Avoid fire risks, such as kerosene or space heaters, candles and fireplaces left burning.
• Keep cold air out. Weatherproof your house by caulking window frames or taping plastic over the inside windows. Place a towel against the threshold of doors that lead outside to avoid cold drafts of air coming in.
• Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Subfreezing temperatures can quickly lead to hypothermia in seniors. According to the CDC, more than half of hypothermia-related deaths are people over the age of 65. Don’t let the indoor temperatures dip below 60 degrees and dress in layers for extra warmth.
• If you’re using a fireplace or gas heater to warm your house, make sure you also have a working carbon monoxide detector.