Changes in bodies that come with aging can make it harder for older adults to be aware of getting cold. When the temperature drops, the elderly face a higher risk of health problems. During extremely cold weather, staying safe and warm can be difficult. Like most things in life, it is best to be prepared. Here are some precautions that everyone should take in winter, especially the elderly.
Tips to keep seniors and yourself warm
- Raise the room temperature to keep it warm. Purchasing a thermometer that measures room temperature is recommended.
- Offer warm drinks, but avoid all forms of alcohol containing beverages.
- Keep in touch and make sure that family, friends, neighbors or volunteers visit the elderly person, preferably once a day.
- If clothes are wet, remove them, and replace with dry clothes and blankets.
- Maintain good health habits: drinking, eating and physical exercise.
- Important to wear warm and comfortable clothing, with several layers, to avoid heat loss, but without restricting movement at home.
- Make a disaster kit which should include enough nonperishable food and water, medications, a flashlight, batteries and other essential items for at least a few days.
According to the The National Institute on Aging, the thermostat should be set to 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit to keep elders safe and warm. Keep in mind that it is possible for seniors to become hypothermic even indoors.
Persons living alone are always at great risk for injuries from the cold, they may have difficulty heating the home and caring for themselves. If you know someone who is having a hard time paying the heating bills or needs assistance, help them to apply for the LIHEAP program!
If you need help finding your local Low-Income Energy Office, call the National Energy Assistance Referral Hotline (NEAR)