It's November and winter will be here soon. During the chillier months, it can be tempting to hunker down by the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate, but this time of year, it is just as important for seniors to be active and engaged. Make the effort to get out and about. But first, take a few simple steps to be sure your time in the "Winter Wonderland" is safe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips for winter outings. These are great ideas for anyone, and are especially important for older adults, who are at greater risk of cold weather safety challenges.

* Take precautions if you travel. Listen for radio or TV reports of travel advisories issued by the National Weather Service. Avoid travel in low visibility and on ice-covered roads. If you must travel in ice or snow, let someone know your destination and when you expect to arrive. Bring a mobile phone with you.

* Dress warmly and stay dry. When it's cold, wear a hat, a scarf or knit mask to cover the face and mouth, mittens (rather than gloves, which are not as warm), water-resistant coat and boots, and several layers of loose-fitting clothing. Be sure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant, to reduce body-heat loss. And if you begin to feel too warm, shed a layer or two. Excess perspiration increases heat loss.

* Avoid hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when the body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Hypothermia is most common when temperatures are very cold, but can occur even at temperatures of about 40 degrees if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat or submersion in cold water. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making it difficult for the victim to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won't be able to do anything about it.

* Avoid frostbite. Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.

* Avoid exertion. Cold weather puts a strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor's advice about shoveling snow or performing other outdoor tasks.

* Avoid ice. Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways and porches. Keep steps and walkways as free of ice as possible by using rock salt or another chemical de-icing compound. Sand may also be used on walkways to reduce the risk of slipping.

Thanks for help

This year, 2012, is the 40th anniversary of Meals on Wheels in Garden City. Many thanks to the Home Town Real Estate volunteers and Duane Riley who delivered Meals on Wheels last week.

Are you interested in helping with Meals on Wheels? Substitute drivers are always needed. If you would like to help, call Patti at 272-3620 or 260-6282.

Transit news

It is time to renew your eligibility to ride the Mini Bus in 2013. Be sure to ask the next time you schedule the bus. Don't delay so you don't lose your service!

Never ridden the Mini Bus? Get an application now before the weather turns bad. Let us do the driving.

Scheduled activities

Thursday and Friday, the senior center and Finney County Transit are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Services resume on Monday.

Saturday, the pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Fiddlers, Pickers and Singers meet from 5 to 9 p.m.

Monday begins with walking at 8:30 a.m. Call Hope at 272-3620 to learn where they are walking this week. The Humdinger Band practices at 12:30 p.m. Double Pinochle begins at 12:30 p.m. Zumba begins at 5:30 p.m. Duplicate bridge starts at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, gentle exercise begins at 11 a.m. Pitch begins at 12:30 p.m. Bridge starts at 1:15 p.m. Bingo is played at 1:30 p.m.

Nov. 28 has line dancing at 8:30 a.m. Pinochle begins at 12:30 p.m. Completely Unraveled starts at 1 p.m. The regular Wednesday night dance begins at 7:30 p.m. Music is provided by Jim Calhoun. The recommended donation is $5. Bring finger food for the break.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday and Friday: Closed for the holiday.

Monday: Creamy noodles and ham, peas, Brussels sprouts with cheese, wheat roll, pears.

Tuesday: Swiss steak and tomatoes, baked potato, asparagus, wheat bread, applesauce.

Nov. 28: Oven-fried chicken, potatoes and gravy, cabbage, wheat roll, pudding.

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