- Proper hand washing is key to preventing the spread of germs and illness.
- In case of an emergency, consider installing a personal response or medical alert buttons if you live alone.
- Avoid getting up too quickly when changing positions or when initially going out into the cold to prevent lightheadedness or dizziness and possibly a loss of balance.
- It is best to dress in several layers according to weather forecasts, keeping in mind the temperature and wind chills. Be sure to keep your mouth and nose covered as well as any bare skin to avoid frostbite or hypothermia.
- Be sure to wear appropriate non-skid footwear, such as boots, to prevent slipping or falls when outside in the winter weather.
- Even though you can’t go outside to walk as much due to the weather conditions, be sure to get up and move about frequently to prevent joint stiffness and decreased circulation as well as prevent the risks of immobility. Walk room to room for your exercise or at local malls or nearby community centers.
- If you use a cane or walker, be sure to check their tips and replace them as needed to prevent slipping or falls. You can also add an ice-pick tip to canes for added safety in the winter months.
- For winter driving, be sure you “winterize” your vehicle. Check tires (all season or snow tires are best), windshield wipers and anti-freeze and radiator levels. Try to complete your trips in daylight.
- Be sure to keep regularly scheduled doctor appointments. Arrange for assistance with transportation if needed.
- Investigate the possibility of having your prescriptions delivered by mail or arrange for the pharmacy to deliver them to limit travel in wintry weather. Groceries may also be arranged this way as well.
For your home:
- Remove all throw rugs and keep walkways free of clutter.
- Be sure to have lights within reach at the entrance of all rooms. Nightlights or timer switches are great to have as well.
- Keep your cordless or cell phone with you or have phones within easy reach.
- If you use a walker, consider attaching a walker bag to always keep your phone with you and to safely transport items around your home.
- Keep frequently used items within easy reach; usually between hip and eye level is best. Use a reacher as needed for objects on the floor or up high.
- Install grab bars at the entrance of your home if no railings, as well as in your bedroom. Safety rails or raised toilet seats are also good ideas.
- Keep walkways clear of snow and ice. Consider hiring someone to help do these tasks for you. But if you do plan to take care of it yourself, remember that you will tire quicker and easier in the cold weather. Always keep your back straight, your knees bent, and throw the snow forward to avoid an injury. Lift small amounts at a time and take frequent rest breaks. Also consider purchasing an ergonomic shovel. These have wider, more comfortable handles which are designed to encourage a more upright position and allow you to “push” the snow vs. “heaving” it. This will protect your back and conserve your energy!
- Walk slowly and carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks, as you may not see “black ice.”
- Keep flashlights, extra batteries, drinking water and non-perishable foods easily accessible during winter months in case of a storm.
- Keep your home environment warm but be sure to have proper ventilation when needed.
- Keep a close eye on any burning candles and be sure to extinguish before leaving the house or going to sleep.
We wish you a safe, healthy, happy and warm winter!
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