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Posted On: 12/14/2016

Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Service Urges Seniors to Take Steps to Stay Safe and Warm This Winter


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Cleveland, Ohio - As inclement weather approaches and temperatures dip, Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services (DSAS) is offering tips to help senior residents stay safe and warm.

 "We know the cold winter months pose a risk to older adults. That’s why we urge older people and their families to be prepared in order to stay safe and warm," said DSAS Administrator Dr. Richard Jones. "Make sure your house is equipped to deal with the cold, stock up on necessities and take special attention to your health. It is also essential to check up on your neighbors this time of year. "

DSAS joins the National Institutes of Health to remind older adults and their caregivers that older adults are at a higher risk to falling ill during these cold days and can lose body heat fast. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person even knows what’s happening.

Doctors call this serious problem "hypothermia".  Hypothermia is what happens when your body temperature gets very low. For an older person, a body temperature colder than 95 degrees can cause many health problems, such as a heart attack, kidney problems, liver damage or worse.

In dealing with cold weather, seniors are encouraged to:

  • Dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Keep active. Make a list of exercises and activities to do indoors when you can't get out.
  • Eat well & keep hydrated; stock up on extra non-perishable food supplies, just in case.
  • Keep extra medications in the house. If this is not possible, make arrangements to have them delivered.
  • Get an annual flu shot, especially since seniors are considered at risk for seasonal flu. This year, the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccinations are available as a single dose.
  • Have your house winterized. Be sure walls and attics are insulated. Caulk/weather-strip doors and windows. Insulate pipes near outer walls, in crawl spaces and attics that are susceptible to freezing.
  • Get the furnace checked every year to make sure it's working properly. Cuyahoga County has resources available so seniors aren't left to make difficult decisions like, whether to pay their heating bills or take their prescription medications.
  • Prepare your vehicle by checking wipers, tires, lights and fluid levels regularly. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal. Maintain at least a half tank of gas during winter. Plan long trips carefully. Arrange to travel by daylight and with at least one other person.
  • Protect against fire. If you don't have a fire extinguisher, buy one. Make sure space heaters are at least three feet from anything flammable. Do not overload extension cords.
  • Do not shovel snow or walk in deep snow. Arrange for someone else to shovel snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor could cause a heart attack; sweating can lead to chills and hypothermia.

For more information on how to stay safe and warm in frigid weather, call 216-420-6700, or log on to http://dsas.cuyahogacounty.us/.