Baby, It’s Cold Outside! When the temperature drops, older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather, including hypothermia, frostbite, and falls in ice and snow. Like most things in life, it is better to be prepared. Here are a few precautions everyone should take, especially older adults, during the winter.
Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops to a dangerous level. Your body temperature can drop when you are out in the cold for an extended time because it begins to lose heat quickly. Older adults are at an increased risk of hypothermia due to changes that happen to your body with aging.
Shivering is not a reliable warning sign because older people tend to shiver less or not at all when their body temperature drops.
Precautions to Take :
Stay indoors (or don’t stay outside for very long).
Keep indoor temperature at 65 degrees or warmer.
Stay dry because wet clothing chills your body more quickly. Dress smart – Layer up!
Essential winter wear: hats, gloves (or preferably mittens), winter coat, boots, and a scarf to cover your mouth and nose.
It is easy to slip and fall in the winter, especially in icy and snowy conditions.
Precautions to Take:
Make sure steps and walkways are clear before you walk. Be especially careful if you see wet pavements that could be iced over.
Wear boots with non-skid soles – this will prevent you from slipping.
If you use a cane, replace the rubber tip before it is worn smooth.
Accidents While Driving:
Adults 65 and older are involved in more car crashes per mile driven than those in nearly all other age groups. Winter is an especially important time to be vigilant when driving because road conditions and weather may not be optimal.
Precautions to Take
“Winterize” your car before the bad weather hits! Remember your cell phone when you drive in bad weather, and always let someone know where you are going and when you should be expected back.
Avoid driving on icy roads and be especially careful driving on overpasses or bridges. Consider alternate routes and stock your car with basic emergency supplies. HealthinAging.org