The support and amenities provided at Waverly Heights help protect residents against many winter hazards (not to mention winter boredom!). Still, winter holds a number of risks for older adults. Below, a few common ones – and tips for keeping them at bay:
Prepare your car. Winter driving can lead to unexpected delays and even traffic incidents. If you drive, keep cold weather protection in reach inside your vehicle. An ice scraper, blankets, hand warmers, and water and food supplies can be comfort sources and even literal lifesavers in unexpected events. Don’t stop there: Year-round, keep a first-aid kit in your glove compartment complete with bandages, towels, and antiseptic wipes. Finally, be sure to have your car serviced (oil changed, tires checked, and windshield wipers working properly) before freezing temperature arrive. Drive during daylight hours and avoid inclement weather whenever possible.
Invest in quality footwear. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for adults ages 65 and older, and fall risk is exacerbated by ice and snow. The best protection against winter slip and fall accidents? Stay indoors when ice or snow might be present. If you must venture out, choose shoes or boots with good traction. However, avoid anything too heavy. Thick, chunky-soled shoes can actually cause falls. Stick to sidewalks and walkways that have been treated, and hold onto railings or use walking aids (such as canes or walkers). Once you reach your destination, continue to use care. Ice and snow can track indoors and make indoor surfaces slippery.
Dress for warmth. Cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia, not to mention discomfort. The right clothing can help. Natural fibers like wool and merino are best for warmth. Steer clear of cotton, as it holds moisture and can cool the skin.