Winter Safety Tips: How to be safe this season
Winter Safety Tips Time. With the winter season comes frigid temperatures, snow, and of course, slippery ice. All of these are dangers that seniors should be aware of; especially if they’ve recently moved to retire in a cooler climate from a warmer one.
Here are a few tips to help keep seniors safe this winter.
Winter Safety Tips: Remain Safe at Home
More home fires happen during the winter months than any other time of the year mainly due to home heating devices, and people age 65 and older are three times more likely to die or be injured in a home fire as those who are younger. In addition, heating devices and household appliances that are fueled by gas, oil, kerosene or wood in a closed up house can also produce deadly carbon monoxide gas. Some simple things seniors can do to protect themselves:
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home and check the batteries every month and change them at least once a year.
- If you’re using a space heater, remember that space heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the heater, and if you’re looking to buy a new space heater, get one that automatically shuts off if the heater falls over.
- If you use a wood burning fireplace, make sure you have a glass front or screen large enough to catch flying sparks and rolling logs and have chimney flue pipe checked once a year.
- Get an ABC multipurpose fire extinguisher for the home; learn how to use it and check it yearly to be sure is working.
Winter Safety Tips: Remain Safe Outside
As we age, we’re more prone to losing our balance as our muscle tone diminishes and our gate becomes unstable. Not to mention, a fall is much more damaging to our older bones should we take a tumble. Here are a few ways to protect seniors from slips and falls on ice this winter:
- When heading outdoors, seniors should wear the correct footwear, wearing shoes and boots that provide good traction on the heels and soles to prevent slips and falls.
- Sidewalks and driveways should always be kept clear of ice. Seniors should have someone blow or shovel the snow away and apply salt or another de-icing material. However, do not use so much salt that it becomes a trip hazard itself.
- The steps leading up to the house should remain in good repair, never weak or wobbly because they will be even more difficult to navigate safely with snow and ice on them.
- Seniors need to take their time when moving from one location to another. They should step carefully when they can’t tell if the path is clear. If possible, they should walk with someone to help keep him upright.
Winter Safety Tips: Remain Safe When Driving
Active seniors on the go should take special care when driving in winter. Even if snow hasn’t fallen, cold temperatures can create frozen-over roads, often called “black ice”, which is difficult to see. Weather.com offers the following winter driving safety tips for when driving on icy roads:
- Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
- Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists, even during the day.
- Keep your lights and windshield clean.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
- Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
- Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
- For more safety tips, click here.
If you or your aging loved ones are starting to find winter’s challenges overwhelming, it may be time to consider a move to an independent living, assisted living, or continuing care community. To begin your search for the perfect home for you or your loved ones, visit the Alternatives for Seniors website or call a Senior Specialist at (888) WE-ASSIST (888-932-7747).
BLOG Date: December 27, 2013
Writer: Ryan Allen