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7 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

December 7, 2010

This is a tip sheet we had on our website a little while ago, but with winter upon us, it's definitely worth posting today?

With slick roads, harsh conditions, and rampant variations of the flu virus, Pennsylvania residents of all ages need to be on guard. Specifically, seniors and aging caregivers need to pay particular attention to safety during this chilly time of year.

There are many winter safety tips to consider, and being ready is the first step toward a safe and healthy season. Here are a few ideas from Concordia Lutheran Ministries:

1. Check smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors: One good investment, especially during the winter months when many seniors are homebound, is a carbon monoxide detector. The "Silent Killer," as it is called, is especially dangerous since it has no scent or visible presence. Those with a fireplace or gas furnace should be particularly weary of carbon monoxide in their home.

2. Get sturdy footwear: With the icy conditions winter brings, having proper footwear is a necessity when leaving the home. Boots or shoes with good traction and anti-slip soles can save a life on an unclear sidewalk. Moreover, keeping road salt or sand on the front sidewalk is important as well. Do not put too much physical strain on yourself to shovel snow however, as that can be a safety concern in itself.

3. Adapt in-home lighting: Another thing to consider is adapting the lighting in your home. Many seniors have trouble adjusting to changes of lighting in different rooms, which can lead to unexpected tumbles. This is especially important in the winter months as there is less daylight. Night-lights are equally important, not just in the winter but all year.

4. Check rugs and carpet: With the wear and tear of winter conditions, watch out for fraying or wrinkled carpets or rugs, as they present a fall hazard. Use padding or special tape to make sure they stay in place.

5. Keep up your diet and exercise regimen: Maintaining a normal exercise and diet routine is especially important during the winter months when folks tend to get lackadaisical. Anything from walking in place, riding a stationary bike, or exercising to fitness videos are still possible indoors. Make sure to consult your physician before starting an exercise program though. And remember to keep up with your fluid intake, as many people drink less in the winter months, leading to dehydration concerns.

6. Get a Flu shot: In the winter months there are a number of free flu vaccine clinics for seniors Concordia Visiting Nurses typically offers several clinics per year. Since seniors are especially susceptible to the virus, getting a flu shot should be high on your to-do list.

7. Check heating units: Consider the last time you had your furnace checked and your chimney/flues inspected and cleaned. If you use a space heater, keep it at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire (drapes/curtains, furniture, bedding, etc).

For many seniors, winter maintenance and concerns are some of the main reasons for considering a move to a worry-free retirement apartment or senior care community. Concordia always offers free, personalized tours at all of our senior care locations for individuals wishing to learn more.

E-mail us here or call 1.888.352.1571 to see what might be right for you or your loved one.

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