Health Tips for Winter
January 02, 2019
Submitted by Stacey Boyd, MSN, RN, Director of Nursing, Welbrook at Bloomington
Winter is well upon us and seems to get longer and colder every year. Are you taking all the necessary steps to be prepared and safe this winter season? With cold temperatures, ice, and snow, here are some tips to use in the upcoming months to stay safe until spring is here.
With freezing temperatures, snow, and ice storms, the outdoor environment can be icy and slick, making it easy to slip and fall. Falls can cause major injuries to people of all ages, but especially the geriatric population. A fall can cause broken bones, head injuries, skin lacerations, etc. The best way to avoid falls is to take preventative action. It is imperative to wear the right type of shoes and boots that provide traction and have non-skid soles. Black ice is especially dangerous, as we cannot see it. Remember to always walk slowly and watch where you are walking. If conditions are not favorable, for example when there is ice and snow outside, cancel your plans and stay inside. Avoid going out where you are at risk for falling. If you must leave your home in questionable weather, find a friend, neighbor or family member to go with you to assist if needed.
Not only do you want to be careful outdoors, but it can often be slick indoors as well on tile, ceramic, and wood floors. Use socks with grips or non-slip slippers while walking at home. Be careful that your floors are not wet. If you do have a fall, always notify your physician or seek medical attention for evaluation for injury.
It is important to stay warm when venturing outdoors as well as within your own home. Maintain your indoor temperatures above 65 degrees. Avoid being outdoors for long periods of time. Make sure that when you are going outside you are dressed appropriately. Put on layers, wear your coat, hat, and gloves. If it is extremely cold, make sure all exposed skin is covered. If you are not dressed appropriately and are staying outdoors for long periods of time, this could lead to frostbite or even hypothermia; both are serious and would require medical attention. Again, if you do not have to leave your home on these extreme cold days, cancel your plans or seek the help of friends, neighbors, or family.
Be prepared for emergencies
Sometimes in the winter, we are faced with blizzards, which can take out the power. Without power, there is no heat and no electricity. Keep flashlights accessible as well as a stack of blankets to keep warm. Also, keep some non-perishable food items on hand in case the power is out for a long length of time. Always maintain a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. Make sure that you have your daily medications on hand, at least a one-week supply, when a storm is expected so that you do not run out of medications.
Be mindful of overheating electric blankets and space heaters. If you are lighting candles, make sure you are nearby to monitor lit candles. Always have working fire alarms in the home and a working fire extinguisher available.
Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask for help during the winter months with anything you may need, including snow/ice removal and transportation assistance. People like helping other people!
Welbrook at Bloomington is a new, state-of-the-art senior living community located at 1402 Leslie Drive in Bloomington. They offer independent/assisted living and memory care. “Living life well” at Welbrook means having the support, care, and compassion to continue a lifestyle with just a change of location. For additional information, contact Rochel Yerington, Community Relations Director at 309-603-2700 or visit WelbrookBloomington.com.
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