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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

How to Winterize Yourself - Keeping you and your loved ones safe during the winter months.

Cold weather brings special risks for older adults.  We all are aware of risks and dangers of slips and falls on snow and ice.  Taking precautions against this danger can be as simple as ensuring you are wearing proper footwear; clearing sidewalks, driveways and steps of snow and ice; salting or sanding sidewalks, drives, and steps; and, replacing cane and or walker tips with new rubber stoppers or specialized tips for ice. 

 

Hypothermia is another concern for the elderly during the cold winter months.  This can happen if you are outside, but can happen inside as well.  Ensuring your thermostat is set at 68 or higher, as well as dressing in loose layers and wearing hats, boots, and mittens can help to protect against hypothermia.  Common diseases increase an older adult’s risk in cold weather.  Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients have poor judgment with regard to turning the heat on or up, wearing appropriate clothing for the weather, or even realizing they are cold.  Older adults who have trouble moving because of a disease are also more vulnerable in the cold weather.  Diabetes which can lead to poor circulation also increases the chance for hypothermia during the winter months.  Also, certain medications may increase a person’s risk for hypothermia.

 

If you are a family member or caregiver of an older person, be sure to check on them frequently, to ensure they have the right clothing and footwear for the weather, check their thermostat, clear and salt walkways, and encourage them to discuss with their physician or pharmacist their medications and how the cold can affect them while taking such medication.



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