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Ohio Department of Aging Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

My Life - November 2012

Now's the time to winterize your home and yourself
Be prepared, no matter what weather winter has in store

By John R. Ratliff, Boomerang staff writer

Ohio winters can run the gamut from unseasonably warm and rainy, to dangerously cold with heavy snowfalls, and everything in between. Given this uncertainty, it can be hard to prepare for an Ohio winter, but that doesn't mean you can't take a few steps now to plan for whatever Old Man Winter has in store for us this year. A good plan starts with making sure that your home - and you - are winterized.

Winterize your home
  • Disconnect your outdoor garden hose, shut off the water valve inside the house and drain the spigot.
  • Inspect your home for any exterior damage that might invite pests looking to warm up. Trouble spots include leaky pipes, warped storm windows, frayed screens and tattered shingles.
  • Clean debris from gutters and downspouts and inspect sidewalks near the house for cracks and gaps that could let water into your foundation.
  • Make sure winter equipment, such as a snow shovel, ice scrapers and sidewalk salt are somewhere that you can easily access. They won't do you much good if they're in your iced-over shed.
Winterize yourself
  • Check your coat. Is your winter coat in good shape? Inspect it for rips and tears and places where the lining may be thinning. Does it still fit properly, and can you move freely while wearing it? Is it long enough to warm your lower torso as well as your upper body? Do you have a hood or hat to cover your head and ears? Do you have a lighter coat for days when it isn't parka weather, but a jacket just won't cut it?
  • Protect your hands. Do you have a pair of gloves that provide sufficient protection from cold and wet conditions? Do they allow you to do most normal tasks (such as driving and opening doors) without taking them off?
  • Keep your feet warm and dry. Do you have warm, waterproof shoes or boots for day-to-day wear during winter? Are they in good shape with rugged, slip-proof soles in good repair? Are they comfortable and do they fit properly so that you can walk without tripping or falling?
  • Protect your eyes. Sunglasses, including prescription clip-on types, can provide essential UV protection while they reduce glare and make it easier to see in wintery conditions.
  • Get a flu shot.

Finally, know your limitations and say active. As we age, our bodies become less able to handle temperature extremes and we become more susceptible to cold-weather illnesses and injuries such as frostbite and hypothermia. Maintaining physical activity levels similar to warm weather is essential to keeping your body fit and preventing illness or injury. You just may have to be creative in how you do it. Clean house more often, adopt a new exercise routine you can do at home, or find indoor places like stores and malls where you can walk, perhaps with friends. Know your limits when working or playing outside, and take regular breaks to warm up and stay hydrated.


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