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Winter Weather Can Be Dangerous For Seniors

by  on  Accident Attorney

Let it Snow!

We all know the popular holiday song by this title. The first line begins with: “Oh the weather outside is frightful.” Unfortunately, this is an accurate description of the weather for many winter days and nights. Harsh winter weather presents risks to everyone but is particularly hazardous for seniors. Your accident lawyer discusses some of the biggest threats to seniors during the winter season and includes recommendations for staying safe.

Hypothermia

Seniors are at higher risk for hypothermia because they cannot regulate their internal body temperature as well. Sometimes, older people can be suffering from hypothermia and not even realize it. Therefore, it is crucial that people be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia, which include: a lot of shivering, cold skin that is pale or ashy, slurred speech, sluggishness, confusion, dizziness, shallow breathing, unusual behavior, and slow, irregular heartbeat. 

To protect against being cold inside the home, maximize energy and minimize drafts with insulation and weather-stripping. Check and clean the fireplace and furnace, and replace furnace filters monthly. Keep the thermostat at 68 degrees. If doing so is difficult, look into energy assistance programs. To protect against cold while outside the home, dress warmly in layers. Keep your head covered, since a lot of body heat is lost through the head. Wear mittens or gloves to avoid frostbite. 

Falls

Although slips and falls are always a potential hazard for seniors, winter presents a greater risk because of icy, snowy conditions. Doctors warn that the fall itself is not necessarily what causes the most harm; often it is complications from a hip fracture or head trauma in older people that lead to more serious and even fatal consequences. To protect against falls, make sure steps and walks are cleared and salted. If there is fresh ice or snow on the pavement, try to walk on a grassy side, if possible. Use hand railings and assistive walking devices. And above all: wear boots with non-skid soles.

Winter Driving Accidents

Winter driving is particularly treacherous. Combine snowy, icy roads with the fact that seniors have the most accidents per mile than almost any other age group, and “I’ll be home for the holidays” might be a nice song but not a good idea. Your Denver accident lawyer has the following recommendations for safe winter driving:

  1. Winterize your car. Check tires for proper tread and pressure, check antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid and check the battery.
  2.  Stock your car with emergency supplies in case you are ever stuck in a storm.
  3.  Always travel with a fully charged cell phone and a car charger.
  4.  Maintain at least a half tank of gas.
  5.  Never drive tired and always drive appropriately for the weather conditions.

In addition to the above preventative measures, it is essential to stay informed about the weather. If there is a Winter Weather Advisory or a Winter Storm Warning, adjust your plans accordingly. It is better to arrive later than planned or to cancel a trip than to get into an accident. 

Contact an Attorney

If you have fallen or been in an automobile accident and want to know what your legal rights are, contact Jordan Levine at the Levine Law Firm today.