The song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is a wintertime classic. Positive refrains warm our hearts but … it is COLD outside! Safety tips regarding lower temperatures are serious considerations, especially for Seniors. As bodies age, metabolism decreases and reactions to lower (or higher) temperatures slow. Fat layers thin with age, affecting the body’s ability to conserve heat. Hands and feet, farthest from the heart, first signal cold because with advancing age blood vessels lose elasticity and cause circulation to decrease.
Warm and safe is important to Seniors and loved ones. Consider these tips before shivering.
- Wear layers of loose-fitting clothing
- Remember warm hats (40% of body heat is lost through uncovered heads), gloves, boots, and a heavy scarf to cover noses, and mouths.
- Wear boots with non-skid soles
- Replace worn down cane tips with new rubber tips. If a walker is used, have a companion with you or stay indoors
Homes require cold weather attention. Walkways need to be clear of snow and ice. Metabolic rates increase with strenuous activity, such as shoveling. Add the extra challenge of keeping warm and one has the perfect combination for a heart attack. Hire someone else to clear sidewalks and driveways. Local Aging Services offices have programs to help Seniors and may be of help.
Keep indoor temperature above 65 degrees. Check heat sources before use. Fireplaces need chimneys and flues cleaned. Have furnaces inspected and filters changed before cold weather arrives. Place smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors near heat sources. Test them for reliability.
Driving in winter conditions is dangerous. A Senior’s best winter friend is a cell phone to let others know departures, arrivals and any problems. Common sense dictates if the forecast is ominous, stay home. The National Safety Commission advises:
- Replace tires if tread is less than 2/32 of an inch
- Check tire pressure and battery power
- Replace worn-out wiper blades
- Keep gas tanks half full or more
- Warm up cars but not in an enclosed garage
- Increase following distance between cars
- Use a cab or Uber if you need to be somewhere
Be prepared if traveling is a must. Blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, sand or kitty litter, shovel, snow brush and ice scraper should be on hand.
Bridge to Better Living assists Seniors and families in all types of weather. Safety is a priority. If you are beginning to consider a transition to Senior Living, contact Bridge to Better Living today. Your Quality of Life is important.