Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

December 15, 2017

As much as we love the roaring fireplace and the snow-tipped trees, this time of year brings a host of slippery, cold dangers to avoid. Seniors, in particular, should follow these safety tips for wintertime.

Shoveling Injuries

Shoveling can put pounds of strain on the lower back, upper back, and shoulders. Consider hiring a snow removal company that will arrive at your door whenever snowfalls exceed an inch. Or, invest in a snowblower to minimize the lifting motions under the weight of the wet snow.If you do have to use a shovel, go slowly, choose a small shovel, try to push the snow instead of lifting it, and dress for the cold. Be especially cautious if you have balance problems or osteoporosis.


Fire Risks

Lighting candles, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves can be cozy, but be extra careful of the risks that come with open flame. Lit paper could ignite faster than expected, and medical oxygen should be nowhere near a source of fire. Always check that the flue is open when using the fireplace so your home doesn’t fill with smoke, and be cognizant of blowing out candles and extinguishing fires before leaving the room or falling asleep. It’s always a good idea to keep fire extinguishers in the home and to check smoke detectors twice a year.


Winter Driving

Driving on icy roads is dangerous for everyone. But for seniors, if your reaction time is impaired or your eyes struggle to see the roads during the long nights, ask for rides, call an uber, or do your shopping online or with a friend or family member. If you do need to drive, make sure you have jumper cables with you, and try to wait until roads have been plowed and salted before venturing out.


Slipping on Ice

Falling is the leading cause of injury among the elderly population, and unfortunately doesn’t always get reported to doctors. Injuries from falls can lead to other complications among seniors, so be extra careful when walking or going up and down outdoor steps. Always hold onto a railing or someone’s arm, wear shoes or boots with rubber soles, and replace the tip on your cane if it is worn.


Flu Season

The2017-18 flu season is upon us, and seniors should definitely receive a flu shot if they haven’t already. Although young people with very strong immune systems can recover faster from the flu, seniors are at risk for complications from the flu.It is estimated that between 71 and 85 percent of seasonal flu deaths occur in people 65 years and older. Most pharmacies offer quick walk-in flu shots for convenience.


We at Mother of Mercy hope that you enjoy all the beauty this season has to offer while staying safe and healthy.