Cold Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

Winter is a wonderful time of year. But for senior citizens, it can also be a dangerous season! Here are some tips to avoid some common winter troubles:

Appropriate footwear
Falls are the most common source of injury for senior citizens. The risk of falling goes up exponentially in the winter. Even walking from your car to your front door can be a safety hazard, especially since many seniors may have trouble shoveling their driveways. This is why it is extremely important to make sure you have proper footwear for the winter. Ideally, you will have a specific pair of winter boots. These will help keep your feet warm and dry, and should have adequate tread for walking in icy conditions. If having a nice pair of winter boots is not in your budget, consider buying a pair of universal ice cleats. These can be found relatively inexpensively online. They can strap to the bottom of any other shoe, providing much needed traction for icy conditions. In addition to proper footwear, you can also utilize a walking aid to help avoid falls in the winter. A walker, walking stick, or cane can provide much needed stabilization during these dangerous months.

Flu shots
Influenza is especially dangerous for senior citizens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 90 percent of flu-related deaths occur from people aged over 65. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to avoid the flu this season. Most importantly, get your flu shot! There are many places that offer the shot as the flu season rolls around. Senior citizens have the option of getting a specially dosed vaccine that was created specifically to help the elderly. Be sure to ask your doctor if this option is right for you. As flu season gets into full swing, be sure to wash your hands often, and avoid anyone who may be sick.

Doctors visits
This goes hand in hand with the above tips about the flu. Make sure to visit your doctor at the first sign of any sickness. It is better to be safe than sorry, especially if where influenza is involved. The flu can weaken your immune system, leaving your body vulnerable to complications. Visit your doctor for your regular preventative care and at the first sign that you may be coming down with something.

Avoid the roads
Only teenagers are involved in more wintertime car crashes than the elderly. You may not want to acknowledge it, but you can’t fight the stats. Our ability to safely drive decreases after a certain age. It is better to err on the side of safety when it comes to winter driving. If you have any doubts about getting around, ask for help.

Supplement your diet
Vitamin-D deficiency is common in the winter. Ask your doctor if supplementing your diet with vitamins is right for you.

Winter can be a dangerous time for people of all ages. Unfortunately, the elderly are at greater risk for a wide variety of hazards during the cold months. Living at an assisted living center can help mitigate these risks.