6 Winter Safety Tips for Older Adults

Once you’ve lived through a few northeast Ohio winters, you know how to handle the bad weather, right?

For older adults it’s especially important to be prepared when it comes to the chilly winter months, because we never know when a large storm might hit leaving us at home indefinitely.  We’ve compiled a list of suggestions and tips for keeping safe and warm during the winter, both inside your home and out in the elements:

1. Get Weather Updates Before Venturing Out

When it comes to winter weather, planning ahead and always wise – especially if you’re driving. You never know when you’ll be driving on ice. News websites are a great place to check road conditions or areas to avoid, and chances are they also have a mobile application for smartphones if you are already out and about.

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: keep a blanket in the car, along with extra gloves and warm socks.

2Dress for the Cold

We grow more sensitive to temperatures as we age. Older adults should cover all exposed skin when they go outside in winter, and think about how to protect themselves from possible drops in temperature inside their homes. Layering your clothing is a great way to stay warm, but also to ensure that you’ll be comfortable when you get to your destination.

3. Be Ready in Case of a Power Outage

Start by keeping one good working flashlight next to the bed, in an easy-to-reach place, and another near your favorite chair. Don’t worry if you think it adds clutter; bring it out for the winter anyway. You can find inexpensive LED flashlights at any home-supplies store, and the light will last for years.

4. Be Careful with Candles

Be careful about lighting candles as fires can often start without warning. They create a soothing ambiance, but you don’t want to put your safety at risk.

The same care should be taken when you use a space heater. It can provide great comfort and warmth on a chilly evening, even allowing you to lower your thermostat a little – but it’s critical that you read the safety instructions before you plug in your heater.

5. Stock Up

Stock up on the essentials, it’s important to have some extra food and water handy in case you can’t get out for a few days. Also, make sure your prescriptions are kept current. Don’t let them run low – try to have a week’s worth of medications in your cupboard all winter.

6. Stay Hydrated

Stay hydrated in winter. You should drink as much water during the winter as you do in summer. Water plays a big part in keeping our body fluids balanced and our skin looking clear, bright and healthy. Water also gives you energy – an issue for many people during the dark, dreary winter months. Dehydration is said to be the number-one reason for daytime fatigue, and drinking water can help you get through the days without feeling sluggish.

Winter can be one of the most difficult seasons to get through for older adults.  Planning ahead, and stocking up can go a long way.  It’s also a great idea to stay in touch with friends and neighbors – even if it’s just for good conversation.  As you get ready for the winter season, we hope you’ll consider these tips and that your winter will be a safe and happy one!

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