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Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

By Rick Cohen, 9:00 am on

Seniors are especially vulnerable during severe winter weather, as cold weather and slippery walkways can lead to a variety of illnesses and injuries. The following safety tips can help seniors and caregivers in Milwaukee enjoy a safe winter.

Guard Against Home Fires

Home fires are one of the leading causes of winter fatalities among older adults. Fires are often the result of improper use of space heaters in the home, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The following tips can reduce the risk of a fire:

  • Do not use electric space heaters in a bathroom or anywhere it may come in contact with water.
  • Do not overload a circuit using an electric heater.
  • Keep clothing, blankets, and curtains away from heaters.
  • Do not break apart synthetic logs in a fireplace or use more than one log at once. This can lead to uneven burning and high levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Do not close the fireplace damper with hot ashes in the fireplace.
  • Do not fill a kerosene heater while it is operating or hot.
  • Make sure the home has an adequate amount of fire detectors and check them regularly.

Prepare for an Emergency

If the weather is too severe to leave the home or the power goes out, seniors should have access to an emergency kit with a first aid kit, flashlights, blankets, warm clothing, rock salt, water, canned food, a can opener, and dry food. It’s also important to have a support network in place, such as a neighbor who can check on your loved one during a winter storm.

Avoid Slip and Fall Accidents

While younger people can recover from slipping on ice, seniors often face complications. Falls are the leading cause of death from injury for older adults, and a simple fall can result in head trauma or a fracture. Seniors should wear shoes with good traction and stay inside until roads are clear. Always remove shoes immediately after coming inside as snow and ice can stick to the soles, melt, and lead to a slippery floor indoors. Consider hiring someone to shovel walkways and steps. Some cities offer these services for free to seniors.

Ensure your loved one’s safety this season with help from the staff at Home Care Assistance. We’re the trusted provider of senior care Milwaukee families rely on year-round. Our caregivers are available on an hourly and live-in basis and can provide safety monitoring, transportation, and companionship, in addition to helping with daily tasks around the home. Give us a call at (414) 964-8000 and speak with a Care Manager to learn more.