Winter READY …
Ohio winters can be very unpredictable, with rapidly changing weather that can include snow, ice, extreme cold, wind and more. Older Ohioans need to be especially careful during the winter months because, as we age, our bodies react differently to extreme conditions. The Ohio Department of Aging (www.aging.ohio.gov) urges all Ohioans to prepare today so that you will be “Winter READY!”
Create a preparedness plan and kit that will enable you to remain in place for three days in case you become unable to leave your home because of weather conditions.
- Your emergency kit should contain, at a minimum, a battery operated radio, flashlight, extra batteries, a loud whistle or bell, food you can open and prepare easily, water (one gallon per person per day), extra blankets and a first aid kit.
- Keep a backup supply of the medications you take every day. Have an ice chest on hand and keep ice packs in the freezer for medications that need to be kept cool.
- Make sure your medical equipment and assistive devices (such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, lifts, oxygen tanks, etc.) are easy to locate in an emergency. Have spare batteries and non-powered options for equipment that will not work without electricity.
- Designate a safe place to go if it becomes unsafe to stay in your home, such as a friend’s or neighbor’s house or shelter. Have a plan for getting there.
- Be prepared to quickly explain to rescue personnel in an emergency how to help you move safely and quickly (e.g., “take my oxygen tank,” “get my insulin from the refrigerator”).
For more resources to prepare for winter, visit www.weathersafety.ohio.gov.
Your area agency on aging can help you identify resources, such as energy assistance, chore service and minor home repairs that can help you stay warm and safe this winter. Call 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.
Be Winter READY by Being Winter STEADY
One in three older Ohioans will fall this year, and your chance for taking a spill goes up in wintry conditions. Falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented.
- Stay active to maintain the strength and balance you need to prevent falls. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about easy indoor exercises.
- Invest in extra lamps and the highest-wattage bulbs for your fixtures to ensure you can always see where you are walking, especially around doorways and stairs.
- Dress warmly when going out but avoid coats, gloves, hats and other winter clothing that are bulky, don’t fit well or can catch on nearby objects and cause you to trip or stumble.
- Wear boots and shoes that fit properly and have soles with good traction. Keep shoes and walking aids (canes, walkers) dry and free of snow, ice, dirt and mud.
- Keep sidewalks and stairs outside your home clean of ice and snow. Make sure steps leading into your home have sturdy handrails that can support you if you slip.
- Keep space heaters, cords and blankets out of walkways. If you must use throw rugs on cold floors, secure them to the floor with tape.
- Carry a cell phone and designate someone to call for help if you need it.
For more tips and resources to prevent falls this winter and year-round, visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov