Evansville, Indiana
600 N Weinbach Ave., Suite 610, Evansville, IN 47711
(812) 370-4956
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Cold Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

Comfort Keepers In-Home Care in Evansville, Indiana.

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

Winter is a beautiful season. The snow, the lights, and the cold weather can be a delight to experience with friends and family. But winter can be much more dangerous for seniors who have trouble walking or have health issues that make it difficult for them to get around. Here are some tips for keeping yourself safe over the cold months:

Keep the home warm.

Keep the home warm. The main reason for cold weather deaths is hypothermia, You may have heard that you should keep your home at a nice and cozy 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), but this is sometimes true for some. If you're very frail or elderly, keeping the thermostat at 68 won't keep you as warm as some other temperatures might do. Instead, try keeping it somewhere between 68 and 72; if that feels too cold or hot to you personally, adjust accordingly.

Know the signs of hypothermia and how to treat it.

Hypothermia happens when your body temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). Hypothermia can occur when your blood's ability to carry oxygen is impaired, which can happen when you're wet from rain or snow or exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period.

When your body temperature starts to drop, you'll experience some common symptoms: 

  • Shivering and feeling cold even when dry
  • Slurred speech and drowsiness
  • Confusion, loss of coordination, and memory loss
  • Get help immediately if someone shows these signs:
  • Shivering stops, but the skin is still cool to the touch (or in infants, blue color)

If your or a loved one experiences these symptoms, Call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.

Get a Flu Shot.

You can get a flu shot at your doctor's office or pharmacy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting an annual flu vaccine as the most effective way to prevent the illness. Flu shots are safe and effective in preventing influenza, and if you get sick with the flu after getting vaccinated, symptoms may be less severe than they would have been otherwise.

Get Plenty of Rest.

Getting plenty of rest is a good idea for any age, but it's essential for seniors. Aside from boosting your mental and physical health and helping to prevent falls, adequate sleep can also help with cognitive function, mood regulation, and immune system function.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, the amount you need varies depending on your age: Most adults need seven to nine hours per night; those over 65 may require as many as eight or more hours per night. 

Eat Well.

Eating well during the winter is essential for everyone, especially seniors. Eating a balanced diet helps you stay warm and healthy in cold weather.

Here are some tips for eating well this winter:

Eat foods that are high in protein, fiber, and iron. These include beans and peas (such as chickpeas), lentils, meatless meatballs made with tofu or TVP (textured vegetable protein), spinach salad with nuts or seeds, whole-grain crackers with cheese or peanut butter topped on them, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk or soy milk.

Eat foods that are high in Vitamin C. These include oranges/grapefruit juice; broccoli; cantaloupe melon; papaya fruit; red peppers; strawberries.

Wear Proper Clothing.

While it's not likely to get as cold as the North Pole, temperatures in winter can still drop below freezing. Make sure you wear layers of warm clothing. A warm hat, gloves, and scarf protect your head, hands, and neck from the cold air. Invest in some good boots and socks that will keep the feet warm for better circulation inside shoes (and thus more comfort)

Avoid Going Outdoors if You Can.

If you can, avoid going outdoors during your senior years. Cold weather is dangerous for everyone, but it's hazardous for seniors with reduced mobility and a sense of balance. Even if you aren't mobile enough to get around well on your own, there are still things you can do to help avoid going out in the cold:

Ask someone else to go with you when you need to leave home. They can provide guidance through unfamiliar spaces and keep an eye out for anything that could cause tripping or falling (like icy patches). If no one is available to accompany you when leaving the house, and even if they were, it's never a bad idea to carry a cell phone or GPS device that lets others know where you are at all times. This will give them peace of mind should something happen while they're not by your side; it also gives them access to important information about how severe weather may impact transportation routes or public transportation (for example, if roads are closed).

We hope you've learned a lot about the dangers of cold weather. If you or someone you know is struggling with cold weather safety, such as paying heating bills, get in touch with your local area agency for seniors for advice

Make sure all members of your household know how to contact each other in case of an emergency and who should call 911 if needed. If you cannot move around safely due to medical reasons or mobility issues during the winter season, reserve space near an exit for those who cannot walk freely within their home.

Comfort Keepers Can Help

Comfort Keepers can provide loving, compassionate, senior care services to your loved one in Evansville or the surrounding Indiana area. We help many seniors and their families navigate care during the winter months. Call us today at (812) 370-4956.