Staying Safe in Freezing Weather


Our area will experience snow and freezing weather this week.  Cold temperatures can be especially dangerous to the elderly due to changes in metabolism or taking common medications.  If you are concerned about yourself, a friend or neighbor and would like to arrange a check-in call from Surrey Services for Seniors, please contact Kit Tokash at 610-647-6404.

Here are some tips for staying safe in frigid weather:


Try to stay away from cold places. Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder for you to be aware of getting cold.

Being in a cold building can also cause hypothermia. Even if you keep your thermostat set between 60 °F and 65 °F, your home or apartment may not be warm enough to keep you safe. This is a special problem if you live alone because there is no one else to feel the chilliness of the house or notice if you are having symptoms of hypothermia. Set your thermostat for at least 68 °F to 70 °F. If a power outage leaves you without heat, try to stay with a relative or friend.

Check the weather forecasts for windy and cold weather. Try to stay inside or in a warm place on cold and windy days. If you have to go out, wear warm clothes including a hat and gloves. A waterproof coat or jacket can help you stay warm if it's cold and snowy.

Wear several layers of loose clothing when it's cold. The layers will trap warm air between them. Don't wear tight clothing because it can keep your blood from flowing freely. This can lead to loss of body heat.

Some illnesses may make it harder for your body to stay warm. These include problems with your body's hormone system such as low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), health problems that keep blood from flowing normally (like diabetes), and some skin problems where your body loses more heat than normal.

Some health problems may make it hard for you to put on more clothes, use a blanket, or get out of the cold. For example:

  • Severe arthritis; Parkinson's disease; or other illnesses that make it tough to move around
  • Stroke or other illnesses that can leave you paralyzed and may make clear thinking more difficult
  • Memory loss
  • A fall or other injury

For more information about keeping safe in cold weather, please see the National Institute of Aging web site.