Winter Safety Tips for Seniors
It’s that time of year for warm mugs of tea, cozy blankets, and enjoying the beauty of fresh fallen snow. Unfortunately, this season is also a time for freezing temperatures, icy sidewalks, and other winter hazards. To help keep seniors safe, we're sharing our cold weather safety tips. Even if you’re lucky enough to live in a warmer climate, some of these winter safety tips may still apply to you.
Service the Furnace
It’s recommended that furnaces are serviced once a year. It’s a good idea to bring in an HVAC professional to do a thorough inspection. They will ensure air filters are replaced and that the system is running smoothly, so it won’t break down on your loved one.
Get Out the Winter Gear
Do a winter apparel inventory to ensure your loved one has all the essentials: coat, hat, scarf, gloves and boots with good traction. In general, seniors should limit time spent outdoors or stay inside altogether when temperatures drop.
Prepare for a Power Outage
A bad winter storm can cause a temporary loss of power. Make sure your loved one is prepared with flashlights, a battery-operated radio, blankets, and even a stash of non-perishable foods, such as peanut butter, granola bars, crackers and water.
Prevent the Winter Blues
Many seniors experience depression during the winter months. If your loved one is prone to feeling down, have family members or friends check in with them more frequently. Here are some other tips to beat the winter blues.
Winterize the Car
If your loved one still drives, make sure they get their car serviced for winter. Tires, battery, oil and antifreeze should all be checked. In case of emergency, their car should have a blanket, small shovel, rock salt, flashlight and a first aid kit. Most importantly, encourage your parent to refrain from driving or to use another form of transportation when roads are icy.
Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors
During the winter, the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning increases. Make sure your parent has a CO detector on every floor. Replace old batteries or buy new detectors to ensure your loved one is safe.
Set Up Snow Removal
Seniors should never shovel snow. Even light snow can be strenuous, causing muscle strains, or worse, a fall or heart attack. Set up a snow removal service for your parent, or see if a neighborhood kid would like to come shovel their driveway to make a few extra bucks.
With another year coming to a close, it’s a good time to review your parents’ living space with a critical eye. Help prevent falls by checking to see if they need more handrails or grab bars. Make sure hallways are well lit, uncluttered, and area rugs are securely tacked down.