Tips for seniors during winter weather

News-DemocratJanuary 24, 2014 

The winter weather, including dangerously cold temperatures, continues to hit the metro-east.

Earlier this week, an 83-year-old Belleville woman died, likely from hypothermia, after wandering away from her home and becoming disoriented. Her body was found behind a business.

The National Institute on Aging provided these tips for senior citizens during such severe winter weather:

* Try to stay away from cold places. Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder for you to be aware of getting cold.

* You may not always be able to warm yourself. Pay attention to how cold it is where you are.

* Check the weather forecasts for windy and cold weather. Try to stay inside or in a warm place on cold and windy days. If you have to go out, wear warm clothes including a hat and gloves. A waterproof coat or jacket can help you stay warm if it's cold and snowy.

* Wear several layers of loose clothing when it's cold. The layers will trap warm air between them. Don't wear tight clothing because it can keep your blood from flowing freely. This can lead to loss of body heat.

* Ask your doctor how the medicines you are taking affect body heat. Some medicines used by older people can increase the risk of accidental hypothermia. These include drugs used to treat anxiety, depression or nausea. Some over-the-counter cold remedies can also cause problems.

* When the temperature has dropped, drink alcohol moderately, if at all. Alcoholic drinks can make you lose body heat.

* Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don't eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.

* Watch out for signs of hypothermia, which include: confusion or sleepiness; slowed, slurred speech, or shallow breathing; weak pulse; change in behavior or in the way a person looks; a lot of shivering or no shivering; stiffness in the arms or legs; and poor control over body movements or slow reactions.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service