Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

To learn more about our non-profit continuing care community on Skidaway Island, GA, please call us today at 800-889-6238 or request a brochure.

Winter in Savannah GA is a wonderful time of year. Traditionally, the region enjoys a calm and dry season, but that's not always a guarantee. In the worst of cases, winter's unpredictability can pose an actual danger to older adults.

If you live in one of The Marshes' Savannah assisted living facilities, then you need to be prepared for anything winter throws at you. Here are some helpful winter safety tips to follow to help you make it through the season unscathed.

Protecting Against Hypothermia

Most seniors don't realize it, but all it takes is for your core body temperature to drop a few degrees for you to start suffering from hypothermia. And, the more it drops, the more of a risk it becomes. Here are some tips for avoiding this life-threating risk:

  • Stay indoors when it is cold outside
  • Keep your thermostat set no lower than 65 degrees
  • If you have to go outside, dress in two to three think layers of loose clothing and always wear a hat, gloves or mittens, a warm coat, boots, and a scarf
  • Keep the scarf over your face to avoid taking cold directly air into your lungs.

The signs of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, weakness, problems walking, cold skin that looks ashy or pale, slowed breathing, and/or a slow heartbeat. If you notice these signs in yourself or in another, then seek medical attention immediately.

Protecting Against Frostbite

People with heart conditions and other problems with their circulatory system are the most prone to getting frostbite. As a result, it is crucial for seniors to avoid going outside in very cold and windy weather. But, in the event that you must go somewhere, then you need to ensure that none of your skin is exposed to the elements, especially the fingers, ears, chin, cheeks, nose, and toes.

If you are outside and you notice your skin turning dark or red, get inside immediately and place the affected area in warm, but not hot, water. Or, if the skin has turned white, ashy, or grayish-yellow, get medical attention immediately.

Protecting Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, and invisible, and it poses a severe risk to seniors in the winter time. Carbon monoxide is produced by anything that burns fuels, such as a gas furnace, a gas or wood fireplace, kerosene heaters, and others appliances. When properly vented, these appliances are completely harmless, but in the event that the vents get clogged, the carbon monoxide can remain in the home where it can build up to deadly levels.

In order to minimize this risk, it is important to have your chimneys, flues, and vents inspected and cleaned by a professional prior to the cold weather arriving. If you are using a kerosene heater, then you should always crack a window. In addition, your home should be equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as a fully-charged fire extinguisher.

Protecting Against Snow Shoveling Injuries

Ideally, seniors should have someone younger handling their snow shoveling, but if you're healthy enough and you want to do it, then you should follow these safety tips to reduce your risk of injury.

  • Wear layered clothing, gloves, hat, warm socks, boots, and a scarf
  • Lift small amounts of snow at a time
  • Take regular breaks
  • Go inside immediately if you start noticing the early signs of hypothermia or frostbite

Protecting Against Slips and Falls

Traditionally, Savannah doesn't see a lot of snow in the winter, but it can get hit by the occasional ice storm. As a result, keeping your walkway free of snow and ice is important to avoiding a dangerous slip and fall. Apply cat litter or rock salt to your sidewalk to help prevent ice from forming. If you have to go outside, always wear boots with non-skid soles and if you use a cane, be sure to replace the rubber tip before it wears smooth (or replace the tip with a special ice pick-like attachment available from your local medical supply store).

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Along with slips and falls, auto accidents are among the highest risks for seniors in the winter. Most seniors would do well to stay at home on inclement weather days, but if you have to go out, you should equip your car with the following items:

  • First aid kit
  • Blankets
  • An extra set of clothes
  • Drinking water
  • Cell phone
  • Windshield scraper
  • Bag of rock salt or cat litter
  • Canned or dried foods (and a can opener)
  • Flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • Small shovel

It is also important to make sure your auto is ready for winter. Before the cold weather really hits, have your car's tires, brakes, windshield wipers, antifreeze, and lights and signals checked. You should also always have a full tank of gas in your car before going on any trip.

Visit the Best of Savannah's Assisted Living Facilities – The Marshes

The Marshes of Skidaway Island is one of Savannah's best assisted living facilities for older adults. We offer an impressive range of health and wellness programs, medical services, and engaging activities for all of our residents so they can enjoy the quality of life they deserve.

To learn more about The Marshes of Skidaway Island or to schedule a visit to our luxurious resort-like Savannah assisted living facilities; please call us today at 800-889-6238.