Senior Wellness: Simple winter safety

Senior Wellness: Preventing winter accidents

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The winter months present unique situations that can cause some safety hazards. For seniors, those hazards can have more serious consequences. 

There are some easy ways to help yourself stay safe this season. 

Preventing Falls - Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older Americans.
· Replace any worn cane tips. Consider a cane tip specifically designed for ice
· Keep walkways and handrails clear of ice and snow.
· Ensure footwear has appropriate non-skid soles.
· Take off your shoes when coming indoors, or switch to an "indoor only" pair
· Talk to your doctor about fall prevention techniques


Stay Warm
· Wear two to three layers of loose-fitting clothing to help trap warm air.
· Stay completely covered outside wearing a hat, gloves/mittens, and a scarf.
· When indoors, use blankets, and consider wearing socks, slippers, long underwear.
· Some experts recommend a home temperature of at least 68°F for older adults.


Have an Emergency Plan for Power Outages
· Keep an eye on weather reports for any impending severe weather.
· Ensure that any electric medical devices, flashlights, radios, cell phones fresh batteries.
· Ensure food supplies, prescription medications, and any supplemental oxygen supplies are sufficient to last through several days without power.
· Keep emergency numbers nearby of doctors, friends, and relatives with current info


Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
· Ensure any space heaters are working properly, and are plugged directly into the wall, extension cord or power strips can increase the risk for overheating and electrical shock.
· Have your fireplace inspected by a professional to ensure sufficient ventilation.
· Ensure carbon monoxide alarms are properly installed and functioning.


Prevent Isolation and Loneliness
· Have a check-in system with a nearby friend or neighbor, touching base every day.
· If you have a friend, relative, or neighbor who is an older adult, stop by
· Talk to your healthcare team about these feelings, especially if they are worsening.
Ask for Help -- Your healthcare team is designed to help you in all aspects of life, including ensuring your health and wellness during the daunting winter season.

You can find out more about Porter Hills by visiting their website

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