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Winter Protection For The Elderly

January 2, 2018

Cold weather brings all sorts of dangers. The cold, wet, and snow can cause falls, hypothermia, and pains to aging bodies. Some basic precautions and simple items can make the difference of life and death. Just imagine getting sucked into the side of the road after hitting a snow drift and being hurt. Once shock sets in and hypothermia occurs you could leave this life just hours after a small accident. I want you to be safe, and following these 5 steps will not only be smart but can also keep you around.

  1. Avoid slipping outdoors and even in your home. Going out on cold days before the roads and sidewalks are cleared is dangerous. If younger people slip and fall, they can recover much easier, but older people can have serious injuries to their hips, wrists, and heads. Falls can be life changing and may even take away your ability to care for yourself.Some ways to avoid injuries besides waiting until sidewalks, roads, and parking lots are cleaned is to wear proper shoes. Only use shoes that have deep tread. Hiking and walking shoes will go a long way to keep you from slipping if you have to go out in snow, rain, or ice. Better quality footwear will have soles that stay supple (giving you more traction) even in freezing weather.When you go home, take your shoes off at the door. Wet souls or soles packed with snow will be extremely slippery. Be prepared by leaving a chair by the door of your home with a tote or water catching mat that can catch any melting snow, so you won’t slit at home. And follow up by taking off your shoes and placing them in a spot you won’t trip on afterwards. Plus, the snow and ice does melt and tend to make a mess which is another reason to strategically place your shoes somewhere where you won’t get your socks wet!
  2. Older adults usually have trouble regulating temperature. Blood pressure medications can also lead you to feel cold more often. With winter and fall bringing the cold weather it can easily lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia can hit you in temperatures below 95 degrees! Most people won’t realize this and end up in a bad situation.Whenever you do leave your home dress warm. You can always take off a layer if you need to, but you should always dress warmer than you think you need to. Many of the hypothermia deaths in the US are from people over the age of 65. Getting caught with a flat tire on a run for milk can possibly be your last run for milk.
  3. Keep your car stocked with winter-time supplies. This common-sense practice is not followed by everyone but should be. Keeping a tote or bag with basic supplies can keep you or someone else alive. I have been a witness for more than a few accidents where I had used my supplies to help out with the accident.Some of the items you should carry are:
    1. A blanket and a quilt
    2. Survival Candle
    3. Cell Phone
    4. Lighter
    5. Gallon of water
    6. Medical Kit
    7. Have Road Side Assistance (they will not come out in a state of emergency)

These are at the very least, the things you should bring on every trip. Keeping the supplies in a tote allows for everything to be all neat and tidy, and you should have one tote in every vehicle.

Some other essential items that may be good to include are a change of clothes, warning triangles or flares, foldable shovel, hand and foot warmers, flashlight, basic tool repair kit, and a rescue tool may that be a seat belt cutter and/or glass breaker.

  • Maintain your vehicle! Keeping your vehicle at it’s best will be a first line of defense against possible danger. Check battery fluid levels, coolant, and oil levels. Auto Batteries older that 5 years may already be losing voltage. Have your battery tested, and if in doubt, have it changed. It’s just not worth getting stuck for the price of a battery.Check your tire tread. Just because it will pass inspection won’t mean that you will have the traction you need on snow. I also really like having studded snow tires for the winter. If you do get studded tires don’t forget to change them back in the summer.
  • Winter power outages are common in many areas. Staying prepared is the best you can do unless you can stay at another safe location while dealing with this situation. Having multiple sources of heat is the first step in my opinion. Wood stoves, coal stoves, kerosene heaters (can be really dangerous), propane heaters, and even your cooking stove can help heat in a power outage.If having a generator is an option for you, a whole house heater is a great option. A correctly installed whole house generator will even start up without you knowing your neighbors are out of power. If you keep a regular generator, run it outdoors in a protected area. Running one in the garage or home will kill you by carbon monoxide poisoning.Flashlights, water, and a few days of food are all basic needs you should have on hand at all times. Thinking ahead is the key to survival.

 

This winter, stay safe, and make your survival totes for all your vehicles. If you are planning to travel with anyone, bring a bag with these supplies. Don’t trust that anyone can keep you safe. Accidents happen to anyone and can happen at any time.

Most importantly, keep a fully charged cell phone with you while you travel. Having some sort of road side assistance is also a great idea, but they will not come and get you in bad weather. My father was stranded for hours, stuck in the snow when AAA would not come out because of the bad weather. You are your best chance when things go wrong, so why not be prepared!

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