Hypothermia

Posted by Kathy ContinoTurner on 18 January 2019 | Comments

With the anticipated snow storm in the North East, seniors need to be aware of the dangers.  Make sure you have food for several days, dont go out in the snow. Make sure your cell phone is charged, and if you are the neighbor of an elderly person, check on them to make sure they are ok. 

Hypothermia is an issue in the winter months. It happens when your core temperature drops, and the body starts to shut down. Older Americans are more vulnerable to hypothermia because our bodies can’t withstand the cold as we did when we were younger. Additionally some medications you take might also increase your risk. Signs of hypothermia include sleepiness, slowed movement and reaction, slurred or slowed speech and confusion. Many of us turn our heat down in our homes to save money, and that is not a good idea. Make sure your house is at least 68 degrees or higher. If you need help paying your heating bill, contact your local senior center for programs in your area. You should also talk with your doctor about your medications or chronic health issues that put you at greater risk.

The American Heart Association notes that chronic cardio vascular conditions may increase due to the cold. Lower temperatures reduce body heat so blood vessels constrict, limiting the oxygen flow in your body. If you are slim, you are a greater risk. Wear layers of clothing to trap heat and provide insulation. Another medical issue that seems to become worse in the cold is arthritis. Again, talking to your doctor is a great idea to help combat these issues.

Winter may alter your sleep habits. We all know what it’s like to wake up when it’s dark and it’s cold. Our bed is warm, and the ideal thing is to stay right there. Cold weather makes us want to sleep more. Getting extra rest isn’t an issue, until sleep becomes a major part of your day. Keeping a regular schedule can be a big help in avoiding “sundowners syndrome”. Make sure you open your blinds and turn on the lights during the daytime. Find activities to do each day. Many times having a family pet can be a major factor to combat the winter lazies…Your dog needs to go out, and your cat just wants to eat.  Our furry friends can certainly help eliminate the winter blues.