An older adult couple hangs out on the beach in Miami Florida

Winter Safety Tips for Snowbirds

What you can do to stay safe this winter at home or away

It’s winter. And it’s Florida. 

That usually means an influx of what we fondly refer to as “snowbirds.”

It’s the time of year that many folks migrate south for the colder months, and with that migration can come safety issues you might not have thought about. Sometimes, we get complacent in our “happy place” and may let small safety issues slip out of mind. And sometimes we simply forget we’re in a new surrounding and act as we always have.

To fully enjoy your snowbird retreat, here are several ways you can prepare for “winter’s” safety hazards whether you’re in Miami or Maine!

  1. Watch what you eat! Just because your daily routine has been upset like an applecart doesn’t mean you need to give up your healthy eating habits. Plan before you go. Do you have special foods you like and can’t likely find anywhere? Bring them along. Need to stock up on your meal additives or order more specialty foods for your trip? As you travel, take time to eat well; carry healthy snacks for layovers and long trips.
  2. Avoid overexertion. Yes, we understand, it’s cold in Michigan and you’re glad to be here, but jumping into a robust physical routine (when you’ve been relatively inactive and indoors due to the cold) could be hard on your joints and stamina. Take time to acclimate. Start small with easy walks or activities that won’t overheat you (it IS 80° not 32°). Be sure to stretch and hydrate as you return to a more sunny workout.
  3. Wear safe shoes. This goes for sunny, rainy, snowy, or even windy conditions. Of course you’ll need boots with good gripping soles for those chilly (40°) days, but shoes with soles made to grip the road will benefit you whether hiking, biking, walking, and even pickleball. Flip flops are fine for the beach, but if you’re going to be on your feet touring, shopping, shoveling, whatever, make sure your shoes will support you to avoid slips and falls.
  4. Leave the flashy valuables at home. You’re in a temporary home – no matter how comfortable it is – and that means things aren’t exactly the same as “back home.” Could be your resort has a gate attendant, but if not, you could be putting your valuable property at risk by not securing it as you would at home. We tend to think of our condo or resort as “our home away from home” but many, many people have had and will continue to have access to that home! Just to be on the safe side, procure a safe at your resort location or leave the valuables at home in the safe. To be fair, many resorts already offer in-room safes. Use them.
  5. Keep others in the loop. Let family and friends know your travel plans. Share flight numbers and departure/arrival times with someone who can respond if needed. You don’t have to send a text every time you go to the grocery store, but if you’re planning a day trip or longer, be safe and let someone know where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and when you’ll be back. That way, there will always be a forensic trail in the case of your disappearance.
  6. Get travel insurance. If it’s available, the low fee you pay for coverage from many types of inconvenient situations could turn out to be invaluable. Trip insurance may cover additional methods of transportation if your flight is delayed or canceled. Trip insurance also can help with lodging and replacing critical items – but you have to purchase it.
  7. Make a list of emergency numbers and keep a printed copy. Yes, most of us have smartphones, but what if it’s battery dies and you need it? And, long gone are the days when many of us could memorize the phone numbers for all our friends – let alone doctors, delivery services, and all the other valuable contacts we have in our phones. Print a list of numbers to carry with you or leave in the car. You never know when you may need to call someone from someone else’s phone!
  8. Leave a light on. Chances are, in your winter home, the  furniture isn’t in the same place as in your summer home! A nightlight will help you navigate the trail from bathroom to bedroom without struggle. A small night light also can serve to illuminate stairways, thresholds, even a small room. Even ships on the ocean need a light for navigation.
  9. Break up the drive. If you’re a snowbird on wheels, plan to take a few days to complete your trip to your sunny destination. Plan lots of small stops to aid in circulation (and digestion) along the way and make reservations to stay at a point that’s not too far to drive in one day. While it might seem like “hurry up and get there” time, it’s best to take it slow and steady and give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going.

That’s a lot to take in, and most of us will be just fine, and safe from many of these threats, but it can’t be a bad idea to keep them in mind – just in case! Take a few small measures before you go to prepare for any eventuality and you’ll enjoy your snowbird visit just fine.

If you or a loved one could use some help around the house, book a free senior care consultation in Miami Dade 305-945-9025 (Medicare & Medicaid Certified) or in Broward at 954-942-4393 or complete our inquiry form to have someone contact you.

Looking for a Caregiver?

First Care Home Services provides skilled nursing, home healthcare, and 24/7 nursing services throughout Miami and Broward Counties. Reach out today! We strive to return calls within 30 minutes so you can get started with the services you need.

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