Winter safety for older adults

During the winter, extreme weather can roll in at any time and it’s especially dangerous for older people or people with disabilities, who may have a harder time getting around in the snow, sleet and ice. That's why it's important to remember: prepare, be aware, take care.

Prepare  

If there’s one thing you do, make sure a 3-day supply of food, medicine and a light/fuel source is on hand. You might also want to:

  • Have adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.

  • Make a Communications Plan. Family may not be together, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

Be Aware

Be aware of the signs that a neighbor or family member might need assistance. Here are some signs to looks for:

  • Pets left out all night to bark or no longer taken for walks

  • No lights on at night, which can be a sign that they have no light or power

  • Mail overflowing the mailbox

  • Not picking up the phone

Take care

Safety means we all need to take care of one another and ourselves. If you’re older or have a disability here are some tips:

  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.

  • Make sure to wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles, and stay inside until the roads are clear. Replace a worn cane tip to making walking easier. Take off shoes as soon as you return indoors because often snow and ice attach to the soles and, once melted, can lead to slippery conditions inside

If you are a family member or neighbor of an older person here’s how you can help:

  • Shovel a walkway

  • Offer to take a pet on a walk

  • Offer to get groceries

In a non-emergency, situation anyone can call the Multnomah County Aging, Disability Resource Connection at 503.988.3646 or email adrc@multco.us. They’re open 24/7 and can provide information and connections to transportation, case management and other necessary services for older or disabled people.