Bitter cold has blanketed much of the country in December, particularly in the Midwest, which isn't known for having single-digit temperatures this early in the season. As a result of the cold snap, the Illinois chapter of the AARP is reminding individuals who live close to a senior to check on them now and then.
"It's critical that neighbors, friends and family check on older individuals and make sure they are warm and safe," said Bob Gallo, state director for the Illinois division of AARP. "There are many things you can do to help - check on them to make sure they're warm at home, shovel their snow, pick up their groceries or go to the pharmacy for them."
One of the biggest health threats in cold temperatures is hypothermia, which occurs when the internal body temperature dips well below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. AARP stated that seniors are particularly at risk for hypothermia because treatment for certain conditions, such as diabetes, diminishes the body's ability to maintain warmth.
Smart ways in which to stay warm include wearing several layers of clothing, keeping the thermostat at a constant temperature of 70 degrees and checking with one's primary care physician to see if the side effects of certain medications include cold susceptibility.