Seniors are at risk for injury and illness in winter, and as the days get colder, it’s important for them to be aware of potential hazards. Here are five threats the elderly face in winter.
1. HYPOTHERMIA AND FROSTBITE
Seniors lose body heat more quickly than younger adults. Plus, thyroid issues, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and some medications make it difficult for them to detect when they’re getting too cold. Therefore, seniors should make sure to bundle up before heading outdoors and avoid being in the cold for long periods.
Seniors have a high risk of falling, and it’s essential they take extra precautions in winter. They should avoid walking at night, wear boots with non-skid soles, ensure steps and sidewalks are clear of snow and place an ice pick or rubber tip on the end of their cane.
3. CAR ACCIDENTS
Roads can be treacherous in winter. If driving, seniors should have winter tires on their vehicle. In addition, they should keep a charged cell phone in their vehicle as well as an emergency kit with jumper cables, blankets and first aid supplies.
4. HOUSE FIRES
Using space heaters, candles and fireplaces increases the risk of having a house fire. To prevent this, ensure heaters are placed sufficiently away from furniture and curtains, and never leave a fire unattended. Additionally, smoke alarms should be inspected regularly.
5. CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
Turning on your furnace could trigger a carbon monoxide leak. It’s a colourless, odourless gas, so you need a carbon monoxide detector. Symptoms of CO poisoning include a dull headache, dizziness, shortness of breath and nausea.
By being aware of winter hazards and taking steps to prevent mishaps, seniors can stay safe throughout the season.