Winter Storm Gia Poses Risks for Older Adults

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Home Instead Senior Care Offers Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

As winter storm Gia threatens to spread snow from the Rockies through the Midwest and to the mid-Atlantic, Home Instead Senior Care is encouraging families to help senior loved ones and neighbors stay safe in the snow and extreme cold temperatures.

“Winter weather creates additional hazards for seniors and can increase worry for families,” said Lakelyn Hogan, gerontologist at Home Instead Senior Care. “Cold temperatures can increase the risk of hypothermia, as well as accidents and falls due to slick conditions. Families should take extra precautions to make sure loved ones are safe, warm and have all the necessities.”

Home Instead Senior Care offers the following tips to help older adults stay safe during winter storms:

Stay Warm

  •     Keep the thermostat at 65 degrees, at least. Consistently check it to make sure the home is sufficiently warm. Even as heating costs rise, safety should be a priority. Be sure to install a carbon monoxide detector near where your loved one sleeps.
  •     Minimize drafts by filling old socks with sand and using them in drafty windowsills and door jambs. Weather-strip around windows and doors. Keep doors to unused rooms closed and draw curtains at night.
  •     Add an extra blanket and warm the bed in advance with a hot water bottle. Never use an electric blanket – it may be difficult to operate the controls if the temperature needs to be adjusted in the night.
  •     Dress in layers of loose fitting clothing. If an older adult must go outside, make sure to wear a hat or hood to keep the head covered.

Prevent Falls

  •     Stay inside – make arrangements for someone to shovel and salt driveways and walkways. Professional caregivers can assist with to-do items, such as bringing in the mail or picking up groceries.
  •     Have handrails installed on outside walls for frequently used walkways and wear shoes or boots with a non-skid sole.
  •     If an older adult uses a cane or walker, check the rubber tips to make sure they are not worn smooth.

Build a network

  •     Stay in touch with family, friends and neighbors. Schedule phone calls, or enlist the help of a professional caregiver to check in on a loved one.
  •     Make arrangements for assistance in case of a blizzard or power outage. Keep important numbers in an emergency kit, along with non-perishable foods, water and medications.
  •     Be familiar with local resources. Visit, or for more information about cold weather.

To learn how Home Instead Senior Care can help older adults stay safe, visit

Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care® network provides personalized care, support and education to help enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, this network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,100 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 60 million hours of care throughout the United States and 11 other countries. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ approximately 70,000 CAREGiversSM worldwide who provide basic support services that enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. The Home Instead Senior Care network partners with clients and their family members to help meet varied individual needs. Services span the care continuum – from providing personal care to specialized Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. Also available are family caregiver education and support resources.

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Dan Wieberg
Home Instead Senior Care
+1 (402) 575-5970
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