Older adults have an increased risk of cold injury

Older adults are more likely to have a cold injury, especially hypothermia, because:

  • Their normal body temperature may decrease with age.
  • They cannot regulate their body temperature as well. They do not produce as much heat energy. They also have less body fat.
  • Their blood vessels do not narrow (constrict) and conserve body heat as easily.
  • They do not shiver as much. Shivering warms the body.
  • Their mental awareness of changes in temperatures may change.
  • They have medical conditions that increase their risk for hypothermia. Some of these conditions include:
  • They are more likely to be using medicines that may affect their response to cold.
  • They may live alone and have fewer resources to keep them safe from cold injury. They are more likely to have poorly heated homes.

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