MA Medical Society, Doctors Offer Advice on Winter Survival
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
The tips emphasize checking in on elderly neighbors and family members.
The tips are as follows:
Check in on each other. Taking care of one another starts with checking regularly on elderly neighbors during the winter months, especially before, during, and after storms in which a power outage has occurred.
Get vaccinated. Winter can exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions. Those conditions, including heart failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, influenza, and even the common cold, can lead to serious health consequences. One of the most important things you can do to protect your health in the winter is to get a flu vaccination. You may also want to talk with your physician about a pneumonia vaccination.
Always carry your cell phone. The outdoor elements can be a significant source of danger. Take precautions with every outdoor activity, from shoveling snow to simply walking to the mailbox. Call for help if needed. You can get additional protection from a commercial medical-alert system, which you can wear and activate to signal for help in an emergency.
Shovel slowly, or ask for help with shoveling. A sudden increase in physical activity — especially in the cold — can aggravate conditions like heart failure, asthma, and COPD. If you’re sick or have physical limitations, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or neighbor for help with shoveling snow.
If you fall, call for help immediately. Walking on snow or ice comes with the risk of a slip-and-fall accident. Falls can be potentially life-threatening, especially if you have osteoporosis. Getting help quickly greatly increases the chances of you making a satisfactory recovery from any injuries.
Wear boot grips or cleats. A couple of precautions can reduce your risk of slipping and falling. Over-the-sole slip-on cleats can improve traction on slippery surfaces. Fit them onto your snow boots at the start of the season and keep your boots by a chair near the door.
Stay physically active. A regular fitness routine can help, too. Regular, moderate physical activity can help maintain your muscle strength, which will subsequently improve balance and your ability to catch yourself if you start to slip.
Check out home heating resources. Be thoughtful too about your safety at home. If your home isn’t adequately heated, there’s a risk of hypothermia. Winter heating can be costly; if you’re concerned, it is critically important that you know about helpful resources. Check with your local Council on Aging or senior center for information on free or reduced heating fuel for seniors.
Eat well. Proper nutrition through the winter is also important. It may be harder to get to the store, especially if you live alone, and living on canned foods isn’t a great fix (for example, they’re high in sodium). Most communities or regions have programs that can help seniors tap into nutrition-based services like meal delivery and transportation to local grocery stores. Again, check with your local Council on Aging or senior center.
Watch our show. For more on winter safety for the elderly, go online to watch Physician Focus, the public access TV show produced by the Massachusetts Medical Society and HCAM-TV. Visit massmedical.org and go to “News and Publications” to watch Winter is Coming, the current episode, featuring more winter survival strategies.
Related Slideshow: 50 Ways to Give in Central MA This Holiday Season - 2017
484 Main St., Worcester
United Way of Central Massachusetts helps many local organizations gain funding to help community efforts.
Each year they post a wish list for their organizations that easily allows you to choose where to donate or volunteer this holiday season.
Photo: United Way of Central Massachusetts
125 Providence Street, Worcester
For 100 years, the Girls Inc. of Worcester has aimed to dedicate themselves to empowering young women, ranging from ages 5 to 18 to achieve their goals and dreams. The organization supports these women to become healthy, educated, and independent figures.
Points of emphasis that are translated from Girls Inc. of Worcester faculty to its clients include, appropriate ways to confront challenges, resisting peer pressure, and viewing college as a tangible facet in their lives
120 Thomas Street, Worcester
Founded in 1891, VNA Care Network has helped people of all ages cope with illness or injury while living at home. Our exceptional visiting nurses; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; social workers; and other professionals have helped us earn accreditation by The Joint Commission.
335 Chandler Street, Worcester
Since 1878, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is dedicated to leadership in protecting and promoting the rights and well-being of children and families.
300 Barber Avenue, Worcester
Holy Trinity is a non-profit facility serving individuals who require a broad range of social, nursing and rehabilitation services in an atmosphere of quality care and Christian love, without regard to a person's race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, national origin, disability or Veteran's status.
222 Harrington Way, Worcester
We all know it as the EcoTarium and for all the fun and education.
Founded in 1825, the Worcester Natural History Society is a great place to play outside, play on the imagination playground and learn about the natural history of Worcester.
4 Mann Street, Worcester
Founded in 1973, The Bridge now serves over 1,200 individuals in residential and community settings.
Supports compassionate, evidence-based human services for those with mental health challenges, developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury and complex family problems.
321 Main Street, Worcester
Mechanics Hall is the premier event venue and concert hall in Central Massachusetts. Renowned for its elegance and sound qualities, the Hall's cultural significance, its stunning décor and architectural detail have earned it a listing on the National Register of Historic Places
81 Gold Star Boulevard, Worcester
The mission of the Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
65 Tainter Street, Worcester
The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester is to help youth develop the qualities needed to become responsible citizens and community leaders, through caring professional staff who forge relationships with our youth members and influence their ability to succeed in life.
10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, MA
The Jimmy Fund is always looking for people to donate blood and platelets for those undergoing cancer treatments and trauma victims.
You can also become a dedicated volunteer for Jimmy Funds many councils and promote their mission by hosting fundraising events.
Photo: The Jimmy Fund
100 Front St., Worcester, MA
Reliant Medical Group is an organization focused on improving the health and well-being of everyone in Central Massachusetts.
Donate to volunteer or participate in a 5k to help support the many other non-profits that they are engaged in.
Photo: Reliant Medical Group
85 Green St, Worcester, MA
AIDS Project Worcester provides housing for those who are HIV positive and in need of financial assistance.
They also provide educational services to teach the community about AIDS and STD prevention.
Volunteer to help with their educational outreach or donate to support their cause.
1152 Pleasant Street, Worcester
Donate your car or volunteer to help support families affected by childhood cancer at Why Me and Sherry's House.
You can even help provide a family with meals or emergency childcare during their hardship.
Photo: Why Me and Sherry's House
14 East Worcester St., Worcester, MA
Ascentria Care Alliance is one of the largest community service organizations in the area and allows you to reach out in many different ways.
Volunteer as a tutor or skills trainer to help members of your community reach their full potential.
Photo: Ascentria Care Alliance
629 Salisbury Street, Worcester
The Jewish HealthCare Center is one of New England’s most respected HealthCare facilities, providing innovative long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, hospice services, home care services, and Alzheimer’s care to the community since 1916.
10 Prince Place, Newburyport, MA
Fraxa Research Foundation is on a mission to help to find a cure for Fragile X - a disease that affects intellectual abilities, and makes sufferes hyperactive, hypersentitive to light and noise and prone to seizures.
You can donate or tribute a gift in honor of someone suffering from Fragile X.
Photo: Fraxa Research Foundation
2000 Century Dr., Worcester, MA
American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts is always looking for volunteers to donate blood, organize fundraisers, and donate non-monetary items like credit card rewards and goods.
The Red Cross prevents and relieves suffering to those in the community including military families in need.
One Clarks Hill, Framingham, MA
Advocates Inc. assists the disabled and elderly with home ownership and sustaining satisfying work and personal relationships.
Intern, or donate online when you do your personal shopping on Amazon, overtime you shop Advocates receives a percentage of your total purchase - making it easy to give and receive.
Photo: Advocates, Inc.
One Salem Square, Worcester
YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
766 Main St, Worcester
It is where the community comes together. The Y offers programs for youth development, to promote healthy living and to promote social reposibility.
Four locations throughout the region
Boroughs Family Branch
Central Community Branch
Greendale Family Branch
Montachusett Community Branch
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