Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

As we are faced with freezing temperatures and unpredictable weather, day-to-day living can become a challenge for seniors. It’s important to take steps to guard against some common winter perils. Before winter sets in, check on the following things:

  1. Have your heating system checked to avoid possible problems through the winter, if your system uses oil or propane, be sure to have you fuel tanks filled.
  2. Have a good stash of emergency supplies. Flashlights, radio, batteries, can goods, candles, warm blankets, clothing, and other necessities (including medications).  These items will be needed in the event of a power outage or snowstorm, which might prevent you from being able to get out for several days.
  3. Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order with fresh batteries installed. If there is a fire, gas leak or a problem with your heater, they might save your life.
  4. Keep curtains, blankets, and clothing away from space heaters, as this can cause a fire.
  5. Have a good supply of rock salt available by your front door to use on walkways and steps; this will help to avoid slipping.

Other ways you can avoid accidents:

  1. Wear low-heel, non-skid rubber sole shoes when going out after a snowfall or if ice might be an issue. Be sure to hold on a hand railing when using stairs.
  2. If you go outside, be sure to keep a fresh pair of shoes or slippers by the door so you can put them on when you come inside, this will help prevent slips and falls in your home from wet soles.
  3. When shoveling snow, remember to push rather than lift the snow. If you must lift, do it in small amounts and lift with your knees. (Those with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiac disease or back conditions should never shovel snow.)  Remember to take breaks, dress warmly; wearing gloves and a hat.
  4. Avoid driving your car until all roads have been cleared of snow and ice has been removed. Remember once it is dark, roads can easily re-freeze and black ice will become an issue.