As people get older, their bodies respond differently to the cold which unfortunately makes them more susceptible to serious health problems. During the winter months, cold temperatures, snowy walkways, and icy roads make life more challenging for everyone, especially for seniors. Unfortunately, snow also brings added challenges to seniors when it comes to their safety and independence. Elly Kleinman, founder of the Americare Companies knows all about that.
With temperatures dropping lower than most of us prefer, and snowy, slick conditions making getting out and about a true test of strength and endurance, seniors need to be very careful this time of year when everyday activities such as getting the mail, driving to the grocery store and turning on the heat have the potential to be problematic.
Seniors are especially prone to the dangers of winter, as they are more sensitive to extreme temperatures, less able to keep their balance on slick or uneven surfaces, more prone to fractures from falls and less likely to be able to see well when visibility is poor. Older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather, including hypothermia, frostbite, and falls on ice and snow. Like most things in life, it is better to be prepared. Here are a few precautions everyone should take, especially older adults, this time of year. Elly Kleinman, Americare Companies CEO offers some helpful advice for preventing common winter dangers that the elderly population faces.
Older adults are more prone to hypothermia, as more than 50 percent of hypothermia deaths are seniors. Namely, Elly Kleinman reports that each year, half of Americans who die from hypothermia are at least 65 years old. The elderly are particularly susceptible to becoming dangerously chilled because they have less fat, slower circulation, and a more sluggish metabolism. A senior can even become hypothermic while indoors, so the thermostat should never be set below 65 degrees for a person who is 75 or older. Make sure that an elderly person is warmly dressed when inside the house as well as outside.
Keep driveways and walkways clear of snow and ice.
Sidewalks slick with ice and snow pose a serious falling hazard for an elderly person. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury among seniors, which makes icy conditions especially hazardous for the elderly. Make sure that the porch, driveway, sidewalk, etc. of the senior has been thoroughly cleaned. Stay inside – make arrangements for someone to shovel and salt driveways and walkways. Professional caregivers can assist with to-do items, such as bringing in the mail and/or picking up groceries.