Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health
Departments Health Links Calendar Archived Issues Media Kit Contact Us
  Senior Care Senior Living Camps & Activities for Special Needs Children Ask the Expert  

Hypothermia and Frostbite Risks in Older Adults
Submitted by Comfort Keepers

The winter season presents specific risks and challenges that can be critical for older adults.  When the temperature drops, older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather.  It is important that they, and their caregivers, take certain precautions during the winter months. Hypothermia and frostbite are among the most common risk factors for older adults this time of year.

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls below 95 degrees and can’t produce enough energy to stay warm enough.  A drop in body temperature in older adults increase the risks associated with limited ability to communicate, impaired mobility, less subcutaneous fat, and a diminished ability to sense temperature. 

Symptoms of hypothermia include:
• Shivering
• Cold skin that is pale or ashy
• Lack of coordination
• Increased mental confusion
• Slower reactions
• Unsteady breathing or heart rate
• Weakness

Frostbite can cause grave damage to the frail skin of older adults and progress to the bone.  Frostbite usually affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes.  Older adults with heart disease and other circulation problems are at higher risk.  To prevent increased risk of frostbite in older adults, be sure to cover up all parts of the body with layers before going outside.  If the skin turns red, dark or starts to hurt, it is time to go inside right away.

Symptoms of frostbite include:
• White, ashy or grayish-yellow skin
• Skin feels hard or waxy
• Skin feels numb when touched
Winter poses challenges for seniors, but with awareness and planning, they will stay healthy, happy and ready for spring!
Comfort Keepers trained caregivers provide older adults with the highest quality of life possible using our Interactive Caregiving philosophy – a system of care that addresses safety, nutrition, mind, body, and activities of daily living (ADLs) all year round. Comfort Keepers has set out on a mission to provide the care and services necessary to maintain the independence and quality of life for the elderly and seniors in the community throughout every season of the year. 

For more information on Comfort Keepers, call (412) 653-6100 or visit them  online at Pittsburgh-247.ComfortKeepers.com

Return to Top

Westmoreland County Special Edition Download a PDF version Advertise Subscribe for FREE
Subscribe to GTGH






Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD)

Scott and Christie

CMS Housing – Apartments


Legacy Medical Centers

WR Cameron Wellness Center

Medicare Specialists of Pittsburgh

Blind and Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh

Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children

New Story

East End Food Coop

Reserve This Space | Call 412-835-5796 or email goodhealthmag@aol.com

Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health. All rights reserved.

Send email to goodhealthmag@aol.com