Cold Weather Safety for Seniors

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The winters in New England can range from mild temperatures in the 40s to regular snowstorms for weeks. For those of you who have lived in Massachusetts your entire life, you’re probably accustomed to the daily temperature shifts. If your loved ones are 65+, shoveling and maintaining a yard filled with snow could lead to illness and injuries. Let’s go over some of the precautions your loved one can take as winter approaches.

Bundling Up in the Cold Weather: In Marlborough and the MetroWest area, outdoor temperatures dip very low, which means it’s important to be layering. Having an extra pair of mittens and thick socks at the ready can come in handy when clothes get soaked from the snow. A scarf can be used to protect our mouth and lungs.

Be Prepared for Storms: Pack a storm safety kit for your loved in the event of a blizzard. This should include flashlights, batteries, blankets, non-perishables, water, and warm blankets.

Flu Season is Upon Us: Due to weakened immune systems, seniors are more susceptible to the flu, which can later lead to pneumonia. Seniors should be sure to get their vaccinations before flu season hits.

Be Mindful of Hypothermia: Pay attention to the signs of hypothermia such as cold feet and hands, puffy or swollen face, pale skin, shivering, or slurred words.

Joint Pain: Joint pain can occur in any season, but it often feels heightened in the winter as we brave through the cold and snowstorms. Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and nuts, will help prevent joint pain. Refined grains can cause inflammation, so it’s best to swap these out for whole grains.

Check the Carbon Monoxide Detector: Carbon monoxide can leak out of gas heaters, so having it checked before the winter will help ensure your loved one is safe.

Watch Out for Slick Sidewalks: Icey sidewalks covered in snow are a danger to everyone, especially older adults. Shovel the driveway, porch, and sidewalks so it’s easier for your loved one to get in and out of the house. Adding new treads on the walker or cane will also help with stability.

Take Precaution with Space Heaters: While space heaters can feel like lifesavers, making us feel nice and toasty during the winter, there are certain precautions that must be taken. If a gas heater is being used, make sure the carbon monoxide detector is used. If you’re using an electric heater, pay attention to the cords so they aren’t damaged.

Drink Plenty of Water: During the winter, we often get less thirsty which, means we don’t take in an adequate amount of water. Elderly loved ones already consume less water than younger adults, so pay extra close attention to make sure s/he is getting plenty of water.

If you’re looking for an independent living or assisted living community for your loved one, contact New Horizons at Marlborough. We offer lots of amenities such as a hair salon, a lovely outdoor patio, game room, and an indoor heated pool.

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