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Preparing Older Adults For The Forthcoming Winter Weather Conditions

We still have the better part of two months before the winter season officially arrives. But that doesn’t mean Mother Nature will necessarily pay attention. As with most Canadian climates, the weather, here in Toronto, can be unpredictable. With November now well underway, it only makes sense to begin preparing for the inevitable frigid temperatures.

This is especially true for older adults. Seniors are at greater risk of illness and injury when the temperatures dip below zero. So, what are the best ways for older adults to prepare for the forthcoming winter weather conditions?

“Winterize” the car.

Before the season’s first heavy snowfall (and since it’s hard to know when that will be, just assume now is a good time to implement this tip), prepare your vehicle for the winter. That means filling it with antifreeze, replacing your all season tires with winter tires and checking your windshield wipers to ensure they’re in good working order.

As HealthInAging.org informs us, “adults 65 and older are involved in more car crashes per mile driven than those in nearly all other age groups. Winter is an especially important time to be vigilant when driving because road conditions and weather may not be optimal.”

Bundle up!

Yes, this is a winter tip that literally all people should follow. There isn’t a Canadian child who doesn’t hear this phrase a minimum of once a day during each day of the winter. However, that doesn’t mean the phrase shouldn’t be uttered to older adults. Avoiding frostbite as well as any potential illnesses due to being cold is the name of the game.

“Your senior loved ones should always dress in layers – two or three thin layers will keep them much warmer than one thick layer of clothing,” advises Bayshore HealthCare, “They should never leave the house without a heavy jacket or coat, warm socks and boots, scarves, gloves (or mittens) and hats. Wearing clothes in layers is also advisable indoors. Help them prepare their closets for winter by packing away summer clothes and organizing their winter wardrobe so it is easily accessible.”

Leave the yard work to the youngins.

With every snowfall comes a need to shovel the snow. It’s a standard and traditional part of every Canadian winter. However, this may be the winter when it’s time for the older adult in your life to retire from the pastime. Strenuous exercise isn’t recommended for any senior. The act of shovelling snow puts particular strain on the back. Get someone younger to handle the task this year.

“If you choose to shovel, take some precautions,” advises HealthInAging.org, “Remember, when it’s cold outside, your heart works double time to keep you warm. Strenuous activities like shovelling snow may put too much strain on your heart, especially if you have heart disease. Shovelling can also be dangerous if you have problems with balance or have ‘thin bones’ (osteoporosis).”

If you have any questions about the mobility solutions and home healthcare products offered by LifeCare Mobility Solutions that may help your elderly loved ones through the winter, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at info@lifecaremobility.ca. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!

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