While many of us may prefer to stay indoors when the temperature drops, chances are that eventually, we will have reason to leave the house. Errands, family visits, doctors appointments and work are all occasions when we will need to face the bitter cold of winter.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injuries and hospital admissions among adults 65 and older, and the risk of injury increases even further during the winter months. InnovAge – a nonprofit organization that serves as the comprehensive resource for Colorado’s aging population – recommends that everyone, especially elderly individuals, take extra measures to stay safe when the cold weather sets in.
Make Your Home Safe
“When we feel in control of our surroundings we tend to let our guard down, which is why an overwhelming number of falls occur within the home,” said Annisa Cotton, care supervisor for InnovAge Home Care – an InnovAge program that provides non-skilled in-home services. “It’s important to remember that even our familiar living spaces can be affected by severe winter weather.”
The entranceways, stairs and steps of the home can become more hazardous in winter months. InnovAge offers the following simple tips for weatherproofing and safety.
Be Aware of How Changing Weather Conditions Affect Your Daily Routine
On any given day, our surroundings can put us at risk for a fall, especially when we are unable to take the same safety measures that we would at home. Regardless of the location, winter weather conditions such as rain, snow and ice are all potential causes for an accident. “The good news is that most slips, trips and falls can be prevented, as long as we remember to take our time and pay close attention to our surroundings,” said Cotton. The InnovAge team suggests keeping the following best practices in mind when out and about.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Changing weather patterns can account for all kinds of conditions, including flash floods, downpours and snowstorms. Winter power outages often affect heat, electricity and the ability to communicate with the outside world. The weather can certainly be unpredictable, therefore InnovAge encourages taking extra precautions by putting together a survival kit to keep in your home, preferably on a main floor where it is easily accessible. “Of course we never want to have to use an emergency survival kit,” said Cotton, “but being prepared provides peace of mind for everyone, including aging individuals and their loved ones.“
InnovAge suggests that the following items be considered as part of a home survival kit.
InnovAge Home Care is a part of InnovAge, a nonprofit organization that serves as the comprehensive resource for Colorado’s aging population and is here to help seniors and caregivers, alike. InnovAge provides a full spectrum of services to enable older adults to live independently in their homes and communities. InnovAge offers skilled and non-skilled home care services, healthcare and day programs, care management and memory loss programs in communities throughout Colorado. For more information about InnovAge services in your area, please visit www.MyInnovAge.org or call 719-553-0478.