Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008 | midnight
After 20 years of firefighting and emergency medical service, I can tell you from experience that winter can be tough on senior citizens.
The shorter daylight hours coupled with the cold weather of the Mojave Desert can put a strain on the elderly. Older Boulder City residents must consider winter hazards that can become critical to their health and safety.
The Boulder City Fire Department asks you read and follow these suggestions:
- Two of the best ways to avoid getting sick this winter is to get a flu shot and wash your hands frequently.
- Drink lots of water. People tend to relate this rule to our hot summers. However, being inside a house with the heater going can easily dehydrate a person.
- Since the weather is cold, realize that the elderly are more susceptible to hypothermia. One should wear multiple layers of clothing.
- Fireplaces, portable heaters, candles and holiday cooking can make your residence more susceptible to fire and carbon monoxide buildup. Ensure that you have working smoke detectors on each floor of your home. A carbon monoxide detector is suggested near sleeping areas.
- The days are darker and lighting in your house might need adjusting to offset any eyesight problems you may have. A good idea is to use plenty of nightlights in bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms.
- Since adjusting to changes in light can increase the potential for falling, check for obstacles that can be tripped over. Check your rugs. Make sure they are not wrinkled or torn in a way that can cause you to trip as you walk.
- In the bathroom, have mats inside and outside of the tub to keep you from slipping on a wet surface. If you need them, install grab bars inside the tub and always check the temperature of water before getting into the tub.
- Wear appropriate shoes. Comfortable footwear with anti-slip soles will help you navigate slippery streets.
- One might not associate ice with the Mojave Desert, but be aware that freezing temperatures and lawn sprinkler runoff make for a slippery disaster.
- Finally, if you live by yourself, have relatives, friends or neighbors check in with you on a regular basis.
For further information, call the Boulder City Fire Department at 293-9228.
Bill Wilson, a firefighter-paramedic for the Boulder City Fire Department, can be reached at 293-9228.