5 Tips for Older Adults Who Want To Tackle Winter Chores
For older adults considering tackling the driveway snow, it’s worthwhile to use your judgment to decide if it’s a good idea. It may be sensible to ask someone else to do the work for you.
Contributor: Ronan Factora, MD
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For people who experience four seasons, winter can be a great time for sledding, skiing and tobogganing. But despite the outdoor pleasures during this time of year, there are daily practical hazards associated with ice and snow. Shoveling snow and clearing walkways and driveways are a routine part of the winter experience. Preparing to tackle these chores is important, particularly for many older adults who live alone.
If this is you, make sure you’re covered well enough to keep warm when you’re going to step outside into the cold. Older adults often have a lower core body temperature, have less muscle to generate the heat needed to raise their body temperature and will have problems maintaining this temperature due to medical problems and medication effects.
It’s not unusual even in warmer months for older persons to report that they feel cold, even when the thermostat is raised to a higher temperature than younger adults are used to. The best and most practical solution is to make sure you wear clothes that provide appropriate insulation to protect you from the cold weather and to help keep heat closer to your body.
For older adults considering tackling the driveway snow, it’s worthwhile to use your judgment to decide if it’s a good idea. It may be sensible to ask someone else to do the work for you if you’ve:
This is particularly relevant to individuals who have a history of heart disease, have their mobility restricted because of pain or a neurological condition, like Parkinson’s disease, or have a lung disease that restricts their mobility, such as emphysema.
For those who are able, consider these few safety steps:
Many people have older friends, family and neighbors who spend the winters living alone. It’s worthwhile to check up on them when the weather is inclement and the driveways and walkways need to be cleared.
Keeping track of your older family members’ or neighbors’ whereabouts and needs can make them feel more connected to the community and can help insure that their surroundings remain clear and safe without taking the risk of clearing the areas themselves. It is the good neighbor and the caring family member who offer up assistance in appropriate times, even if it’s not needed.
This post is based on one of a series of articles produced by U.S. News & World Report in association with the medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.