How seniors can stay safe during the winter

Extreme temperature changes can be dangerous to the senior set. This can make winter weather as challenging as the summertime heat, as winter also throws ice and snow into the mix, which can make getting around treacherous.

Here are some safety precautions to take whether seniors are venturing outdoors or simply winterproofing their homes.

Around the house

Keep the thermostat set to at least 65 F (19 C) to prevent hypothermia. Do not use the oven to provide heat in the house. If it is difficult to afford heating oil, propane or natural gas, find out if there is a senior program in your area.

Inexpensive plastic sheeting can provide extra draft protection on windows.

Purchase carbon monoxide detectors to signal whether there is dangerous carbon monoxide present at the first instant

If possible, pay a service or neighbor to shovel snow or plow the driveway. Oftentimes, landscapers provide this service during the winter months when there's no grass to cut. Each winter, seniors put themselves at great risk of injury when they attempt to shovel their own driveways and walkways. Because the strength of our bones begins to deteriorate as we age, a fall for a typical senior citizen will result in far more damage than it would for a younger person or child. If you are forced to shovel, take frequent breaks. Listen to your body and rest if you're tired.

Make sure railings at entryways are in good working order and there is adequate lighting to ease with entering and exiting the home.

Keep walkways salted to prevent ice buildup.

Consider using delivery services or shopping on-line to reduce the number of trips that have to be made in inclement weather. You can even shop for groceries via the computer.

Even though it is cold out, it is still important to stay hydrated. Seniors are often at risk for dehydration and may find it difficult to consume enough fluids when it is cold. Try for six to eight glasses per day.

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