Staying Safe in Frigid Weather Especially Important for Seniors
With dangerously cold temperatures in the forecast, now is the time for seniors and their loved ones to brush up on cold weather safety tips. Those over the age of 65 account for nearly half of all hypothermia deaths. As the body ages, the ability to maintain a normal internal body temperature decreases, creating an insensitivity to moderately cold temperatures. Seniors may not realize they are putting themselves at risk until symptoms of hypothermia appear: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. If symptoms are present, immediate medical attention is necessary.
The leading reason for hypothermia in the elderly is due to poorly heated homes. Keep the thermostats set at a minimum of 65 degrees, and check and clean the fireplace and furnace. Furnace filters should be replaced monthly. You can minimize drafts by weather-stripping around windows and doors and keeping doors to unused rooms closed. Close curtains at night.
Dress in layers of loose fitting clothing, and if you go outside, make sure your head is covered.
Stay in touch with family, friends and neighbors: schedule phone calls, or enlist the help of a caregiver. Make arrangements for assistance in case of a blizzard or power outage.
Keep important numbers in an emergency kit, along with non-perishable foods, water and medications. It helps to be familiar with your local resources. Visit ready.gov/seniors, noaa.gov or redcross.org for more information.
To learn how Home Instead Senior Care can assist in the cold weather, visit homeinstead.com.