The risk of shoveling snow may seem silly, but it is an activity that can lead to a heart attack or death. As winter arrives, it’s worth noting that each year about 11,500 people in the United States are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to snow shoveling. On average, 100 of those injuries are fatal, generally heart attacks. Many seniors who are in great health or even not so great health live in climates where shoveling snow is just a way of life each winter. They may not realize that it actually can be quite dangerous as we get older.
The combination of cold temperatures (which can cause blood vessels to constrict, decreasing your blood supply) and the strenuous exertion of shoveling (which can quickly increase your heart rate and blood pressure) raises the risk for a heart attack. The quantity and duration of a snowfall seem to increase the chances of injury and death
Dr. Nathalie Auger of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center led a study showing that in Quebec, the more it snowed, the more men had heart attacks. Researchers suspect shoveling snow was the link.
“It’s quite difficult physical activity,” she said. “It can happen quite suddenly at the beginning of the season.”
Snow Shoveling is a Risk Particularly for Those with Heart Disease
Trudging out in the snow increases oxygen demand at the same time your arteries are tightening up in the cold. It’s sort of a double-whammy.
There are other cold weather facts that can impact a one’s heart besides shoveling snow. Winter cold and other seasonal factors raise the risk of heart attacks and more. It’s an issue whether you’re in freezing Alaska or sunny Arizona.
Studies show that cardiac deaths begin climbing around Thanksgiving, then peak early in the year and decrease when warmer weather comes along. You see, the colder weather makes arteries constrict. This can decrease blood flow and make it harder for oxygen to be delivered in the body. The cold can also increase blood clots in many people. And, of course this is all happening during Flu season, which can also lead to heart attacks in some folks.
There Are Other Options Available to Seniors When it Comes to Shoveling Snow.
The first that comes to mind to me is to ask your children or family members (if they live close-by) to help you out with this. Typically a younger family member (child, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc) would be more than happy to help you. After all, look how much you have done for them!
Another great option if your family doesn’t live close-by is to hire someone. This can be expensive if you go with a professional plowing service, but there are plenty of young students who are always looking for ways to make extra money. Websites like nextdoor.com are great sources when looking for help with this type of project. Or ask around with your neighbors for recommendations. Who knows, one of these kids could become your favorite leaf raking helper come fall!
Another option would be to purchase a snow blower if either of these options aren’t available. While you are still risking extended periods of being in the cold, which has its own risk factors, you are not combining it with the strenuous activity of shoveling sometimes heavy snow.
Don’t Become a Snow Shoveling Statistic!
If you still insist on shoveling snow yourself (or if your loved one does), please follow these tips:
- Do some warm-up exercises before shoveling
- Take frequent breaks
- Push the snow out of the way rather than lift it
- Use an ergonomically designed shovel that reduces bending
Here at Insurance for Final Expense, we want all of you to stay safe and healthy in all situations. The statistics are staggering for this seemingly innocent activity, shoveling some snow. Unfortunately, this is a real problem that we see in both men and women in the winter (although predominantly in men).
It’s so important also, that children recognize when their parents may be pushing themselves too hard. They still themselves see them as super humans (so do we), but it is also important to understand how to care for your elderly parent.
This is Why we Feel so Strongly About Having Burial Insurance in Place
It’s one of those things… You or a loved one could be as healthy as a horse, and due to the colder climate, its effects one ones body and a seemingly routine activity, a tragic effect could ensue.
The fact is that it is far better to have final expense burial insurance in place before something like this happens. The truth is that you should always have this in place prior to having a heart attack. Really, what if you are just shoveling the snow on your walkway and suffer a heart attack? Awful… But MOST people put things off and the carriers we deal with have already taken this into consideration and will still offer all folks, full coverage.
With term life insurance, you are not going to get approved the same day. Usually you agree to a policy with an agent, a few weeks goes by, a physical with blood taking is done by a medic and then you wait for the Insurance company to tell you if you are approved.
It is a nerve wracking experience. Most people hate doing it, let alone think about it. Again, truth revealed, with these type policies as many as half of the policies that are written end up getting rejected.
Final Expense Burial Insurance is different. You get approved the same day. Very little underwriting if any is done because the insurance companies realize your body is older and you are not going to be 100% healthy. And yes, that includes having a heart attack.
We All Know it is Easy to Put off Getting Final Expense Burial Coverage.
It seems so final, so difficult to even consider.
The problem is, coverage costs a lot more as you get older and older. If Final Expense coverage was sold at a flat rate for all, you could simply wait until the day before you die to purchase it.
It doesn’t work that way. You must be pro-active and buy now vs. later not for our sake, but for you sake so the price is far less. This is not a sales technique, it’s just a logical thing from the insurance companies’ point of view.
They are willing to take a chance with you and cover you now, but every day you move closer to passing, rates will go up if you wait.
Have a Chat with Your Children About Final Expense Insurance
Many families don’t care to talk about it, but as my Grampa always said… “Death is as much of a part of life as life itself.” We all have to come to grips with losing the ones we love the most at some point. We will also have to know that those who love us the most will find themselves in the same spot.
Remember, they care about and love you so much. They don’t want you in life to be burdened by the financial costs of your passing. Many children purchase final expense insurance for their parents, especially if the covered is on a fixed income and can’t quite afford it.
In the meantime, whatever you choose to do, call us or fill out the free online quote on this page. In the meantime… put the snow shovel in the shed and ask for help. We may not be able to shovel your snow, but we can help you in many other ways!
Feel free to use the Quote Tool on our website to see what is available to you
If you need help with guaranteed issue or final expense insurance, it would be our honor to assist you. Please call us at 1-800-400-8319. If you would rather that we call you, just fill out the quote form on this page and a licensed agent will be in touch with you promptly.