As we age, our body’s ability to regulate internal body temperature and sense fluctuations in temperature can decrease. This is a particularly important function for seniors, as it gets into the colder months because of possible health risks, such as hypothermia. The Asheville area is going to get a winter storm this weekend, so let's be prepared.
One of the misconceptions about hypothermia is that it only occurs in extremely cold environments, but in actuality, people may begin experiencing symptoms at just 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow these tips to help avoid it in the upcoming weather.
Snow Shoveling Tips
Shoveling the snow can pose risks for seniors. Not only are they at risk for heart-related problems but they could also strain a muscle or fall. Here are a few tips to clear away the snow with fewer risks:
Bundle up— You don’t want to be exposed to extreme temperatures. Layering is more important than thick, bulky items because you’ll be able to move around easier. Don’t lift snow with your back — When you shovel, push the snow forward and then using your legs, scoop the snow out. Take breaks — Don’t try to do the entire driveway and sidewalks all at once. Do a small section at a time, then rest and do some more.Keep hydrated. Use a lightweight shovel so you don’t strain your muscles.
Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter
Part of ensuring you will be safe driving in the winter is to get your vehicle prepared for the blast of nasty weather. These tips should help:
Have your tires checked before the weather getsCheck your windshield wiper blades and replace them if they look worn or ragged.Make sure you are familiar with how the defrosters work; this window fog and reduced visibility. Keep a small shovel in your trunk in case you get stuck. Keep a jumper cable in your vehicle in case you have a bad battery (although if you have roadside assistance, they will come out for that but be forewarned, they sometimes take a long time).
Winter Driving Safety Tips
Driving can be a challenge in the winter months, especially if the roads become slick. Whenever you have to take a drive in the winter, be sure to make the necessary preparations. Here are a few things you can do to prepare:
Make sure you have a cell phone with you in case of an accident.Wear appropriate outerwear in case you get stuck in snow or break down. Check with your insurance to make sure you have roadside assistance. When driving in inclement weather, use your headlights for better visibility.
Preparing for Power Outages
The winter is known for its strong winds, blinding blizzards, and damaging ice. When winter storms hit, power may go out, leaving seniors vulnerable if they’re not prepared. Use the tips below to handle a power outage with ease:
Keep candles, flashlights, and lighters on hand for emergencies.If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged up if you notice a storm is approaching. If you can, invest in a small generator so you can have heat in the event of a power outage. Keep a large stock of blankets. Have plenty of bottled water on hand.If possible, stay with a friend or loved one during a storm.If you have a pet, cuddle with it to keep warm.
Helping seniors retain their independence is important to Mountain Home Care!