Winter Hazards for Aging Adults

Winter is here, and as we’ve witnessed, for many across the country, so are snow, ice and extreme freezing temperatures. Even for those of us in Arizona, where winter is considered by many to be a beautiful time of the year, the elements can still pose a threat, especially if you’re an older adult.

Arizona home care agencies suggest taking the following precautions to guard against health problems and weather related injuries in aging adults.

Colder Temperatures

Even in the “Valley of the Sun”, temperatures can drop to a chilly 40 degrees and since older adults tend to produce less body heat, the best advice is to stay indoors when temperatures get this close to freezing. If you do go outside, don’t stay out for very long, and go indoors if you start shivering. Arizona home care agencies also caution to stay dry as wet clothing can quickly drop your body temperature and don’t forget to layer your clothing to add warmth.

Falls

It’s easy for anyone to fall in the winter but for the elderly a fall can mean broken hips and other bones. To lower your risk for a fall Arizona home care agencies recommend hiring someone to do yard work and avoid walking on icy sidewalks. If you use a cane, replace the rubber tip before it is worn smooth.

Fires and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

An increase in home heating during the winter months also brings with it an increased risk for fires and carbon poisoning. To prevent against this, Arizona home care agencies recommend having fireplaces and chimneys inspected yearly and cleaned when necessary. Place a smoke detector and battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in areas where fireplaces, wood stoves, or kerosene heaters are in use.

Winterize Your Vehicle

Winter driving can be hazardous especially if your car isn’t prepared to withstand bad weather. So as a precaution Arizona home care agencies suggest having the antifreeze, tires, and windshield wipers on your vehicle checked and changed if necessary. Take a working cell phone with you, in addition to sharing with a friend or family member, where you are going and when you expect to be there by. Finally, stock your car with basic emergency supplies such as blankets, water, and a first aid kit in case bad weather leaves you stranded waiting for help.

While the elderly are at the highest risk for winter related injuries, the good news is most of these are easily prevented with a little preparation.

If a family member is in need of independent care in Scottsdale or private duty homecare in AZ this winter season, contact Cypress HomeCare online, a provider of independent care in Scottsdale, today for a free assessment. Give our Arizona home care agency a call 602-264-8009 to learn more about affordable homecare in Scottsdale and beyond.

Posted on February 22, 2014