By LENNY C. LEPOLA News Assistant Managing Editor
January 8, 2014
British novelist and dramatist Israel Zangwill wrote in The Big Bow Mystery that “… the cold cut like a many bladed knife.” While most folks are prepared to dull the many bladed knife of frigid weather nose diving into Central Ohio, arctic weather does bring potential hazards, and especially so for senior citizens living at home and alone.
Senior care experts at Home Instead Senior Care are encouraging area families to make sure their seniors are prepared to weather winter storms; that now is the time for seniors and their loved ones to brush up on cold weather safety tips.
“Winter can be a difficult time, as the harsh conditions especially impact seniors,” said Jeff Huber, president of Home Instead, Inc. “We want to make sure seniors and their loved ones are aware of simple ways they can stay safe and warm throughout the season.”
Those over the age of 65 account for nearly half of all hypothermia deaths noted a recent Home Instead winter weather advisory. As the body ages the ability to maintain a normal internal body temperature decreases, creating insensitivity to moderately cold temperatures.
Seniors may not realize they are putting themselves at risk until symptoms appear. Symptoms of hypothermia include: shivering, exhaustion and confusion; fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. If symptoms are present, immediate medical attention is necessary.
The leading reason for hypothermia in the elderly is due to poorly heated homes, which is entirely preventable. Follow these simple tips to ensure a warm household.
Every year, more than 1.6 million seniors end up in the emergency room because of a fall. With icy conditions, the chances of falling are even greater.
Winter weather can take a toll on everyone, especially seniors. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can occur in seniors and impact their emotional health. Some signs to watch for with SAD include: a loss of energy, an increased appetite, and an enhanced feeling of lethargy and tiredness. Talk to your medical provider about treatment options if symptoms are present.
Additionally, winter storms can be unpredictable. It is important to be prepared in case of an emergency.
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To learn how Home Instead Senior Care can assist in the cold weather, visit < homeinstead.com >.