Slippery roads and sidewalks are hazards we have to manage as winter settles in. During the winter season, these issues can be especially difficult for the elderly.

Jonathon Krieger, Executive Director at The Heartland, explains seniors need to take extra precautions when outside in the winter.

"The biggest change in health actually happens around falls. Winter specifically we're looking at things such as snow banks outside or ice on the sidewalks."

For seniors that live in their own homes, Krieger mentions watching out for black ice on sidewalks and wooden doorsteps.

"It's the slips and the trips over snowbanks and in the winter the hidden ice that we don't which see poses a big hazard for seniors."

Krieger suggests keeping sidewalks and doorsteps clear and free of ice by applying ice melt when needed.

When shoveling snow, Krieger says seniors should take their time and take a break if they are feeling winded.

"Cardiac events can also happen quickly as you get up in age and making sure you don't run out of breath is important."

Weather changes rapidly in the Foothills and wearing the appropriate clothing can be a challenge.

Krieger says there are a few items of winter gear that are important for seniors to have.

"The biggest thing is making sure they have the appropriate footwear for the conditions and making sure they watch out for that black ice."

He also says as people get older their skin thins out and they should take extra precautions to prevent frostbite.

"The ability for seniors to get frostbite is definitely increased in the winter months especially as you get those minus 20 or 30 wind chills that we know all to well."

For seniors wanting to keep active during the winter months, Krieger says checking the weather report and keeping up with the changing conditions is really important.

'It comes down to dressing appropriately for the climate in Southern Alberta. Our weather can change on a dime, it might be warm in the morning and by the evening we're back down to those frigid temperatures." said Krieger.

There are indoor activities for seniors to keep active in winter, such as the Senior Centre and the walking track at the Centennial Arena, plus Krieger says, "They're also always welcome to join in with the seniors at the Heartland building for any of our activities."

Krieger adds having someone come by and shovel the walk for a senior would help to keep up with snow removal.

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