Advice Independent Living

Stay Safe with Winter Tips for Seniors

Senior woman wearing winter clothing

During winter, older adults can have a higher risk of falls and other injuries, along with health problems like hypothermia. Discover how to stay safe with these winter safety tips for seniors, both at home and on the road.

Prepare your home

The risk of fires increases during the winter as people use kerosene, electric space heaters, natural gas, fireplaces and other heating sources. Consider having your fireplace, chimney, furnace and other home systems checked for leaks or safety issues. Inadequate ventilation could turn them into potential hazards for dangerous carbon monoxide gas. New Pond Village residents have the comfort and convenience of knowing that fireplaces and other systems are maintained for them which is yet another benefit of our independent living community.

Minimize fire risk by monitoring your fireplace when it’s in use and keep space heaters far from curtains, bedding and other flammable materials.

In addition, prepare your home for possible winter emergencies — including power outages — by stocking non-perishable foods, a flashlight and batteries, extra medications, warm clothing and several days’ worth of bottled water.

Keep falls and injuries at bay

When Mother Nature drops a blanket of snow on your driveway and walkways, it’s tempting to get out and shovel. If you have heart problems or mobility issues, though, you may want to consider asking a friend or neighbor for assistance — or hiring a professional snow-removal service. Shoveling snow is strenuous work and increases the risk of both heart attacks, falls or other injuries. At New Pond Village, snow removal and surface treatments are handled for residents to ensure they are safe and can enjoy the community during winter and all year long.

Use caution if you venture outside for any reason. Surfaces can be slicker than they appear and a fall can result in serious injuries. Before you walk outside, make sure your walkways and steps are clear of any ice. Additionally, wear non-skid shoes or boots and use a mobility device such as a cane equipped with an ice attachment if you need extra support.

Avoid frostbite and hypothermia

If you’re outdoors and you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have hypothermia and should seek emergency medical care or call 911 immediately.

  • Feeling tired, weak or confused.
  • Slower heart rate or breathing.
  • Pale, ashy skin.

Hypothermia can happen when your body temperature drops due to extended exposure to the cold. In addition, extreme cold can cause frostbite, which results in physical damage to skin and is likeliest to affect fingers, toes, ears and face.

To protect yourself, make sure every part of your body is covered when you go outside in the cold and go inside if your skin begins to hurt or turns red. Skin that turns grayish-yellow or white could be frost-bitten, which requires immediate medical care.

Use caution on the roads

Older adults are at more risk for motor vehicle accidents and winter weather conditions can increase those risks. Before you take to the roads this winter, take time to prepare your car for emergencies.

Ensure your vehicle is winter-ready by checking your tires for sufficient tread and proper inflation, crucial for improved traction on slippery roads in colder weather. Regularly inspect your brakes to ensure they are in good working order. Additionally, maintain a full windshield wiper fluid reservoir, considering a formula effective in extremely cold temperatures. Don’t forget to keep your gas tank filled to prevent ice formation in your fuel lines.

Put together a winter emergency kit to carry with you. Include items like a portable charger for your cell phone; a flashlight, battery-powered radio and batteries; blankets; water and non-perishable food; a first-aid kit; sand or kitty litter for traction on ice; a tire pump; and flares.

To keep yourself safe this winter, the best plan is to avoid walking or driving on icy roads. In a community like New Pond Village, you can take advantage of provided transportation locally and enjoy the winter scenery while someone else handles the driving.

Independent Living
Senior Living Lifestyle Senior Living Tips
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