Protecting the Elderly And Other Individuals From Hypothermia During the Winter

Hypothermia fatalities are on the rise, with seniors proving especially vulnerable. Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that, while the general population suffered a hypothermia-related fatality rate of 0.3 and 0.5 per 100,000 between 2003 and 2013, this rate increased to 1.1 per 100,000 for women over the age of 65 and 1.8 for men within that age range.

With seniors — especially those dealing with illness or injury — the following precautions can provide not only additional comfort, but also, valuable protection against a deadly condition:

Know the Signs

Hypothermia isn’t always immediately obvious to outsiders or even those currently suffering symptoms. Unfortunately, the more time that passes before the condition is spotted, the more likely it is to prove fatal. Keep an eye out for these common signs:

  • Shivering
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Slow or shallow breathing

Set the Thermostat Higher Than Usual

The urge to keep the thermostat low is understandable if you’re eager to save money, but this seemingly innocuous habit could place seniors in your household at risk. Even temperatures of 60 to 65 Fahrenheit could be cold enough to cause vulnerable individuals harm, especially when returning inside from the cold. Aim for a minimum of 68 degrees.

Dress For the Weather

This may seem obvious, but many people assume that they can get away with wearing fewer or lighter layers than they really need. Dressing for the weather means not only wearing a coat suited to the current temperature, but also warm hats, mittens, socks, and boots. Keep extra sets in the car to ensure plenty of protection in the event of a breakdown.

Do you believe that negligence harmed a vulnerable person in your life? Legal representation cannot reverse such suffering, but it could deliver justice and financial damages. Contact Regan Zambri Long PLLC today to learn more about our approach to personal injury.