ICE Program Helps the Elderly Stay Safe In Frigid Weather

Lynn Wilson

by Lynn Wilson, Founder of The CareGiver Partnership

Visiting Angels launched “ICE: A Cell Phone Safety Campaign” in January to help keep seniors safe while away from loved ones. Programming easy-to-find emergency contact numbers into a senior’s mobile phone can save lives in dangerous weather conditions.

Cold temperatures are dangerous at any age, but they can be especially life-threatening to the elderly, who face slipping hazards, stranded vehicles and confusion. Visiting Angels, a national, in-home senior care agency, launched a program to help emergency responders contact loved ones quickly and easily.

The Visiting Angels In Case of Emergency Safety Campaign is simple. It requires adding emergency contact names and numbers in seniors’ phones with the letters “ICE” in front of those names. If someone finds a senior in trouble, he will know whom to call. Visiting Angels says an ICE contact entry should include every phone number — mobile, home, work, etc. — and that person should know the senior’s medical conditions, medications they’re taking and doctors’ names.

With the extreme winter weather hitting many areas of the country, the elderly especially are at risk because the body’s ability to maintain a constant internal temperature decreases with age. In addition to calling or checking on a loved one daily, make sure that if she does have to go out, she’s properly equipped should an emergency arise.

Here are a few more tips to expand on this initiative:
  • In addition to ICE numbers being found under the letter “I” on a contact list, those names and numbers may be added a second time with “AA ICE” inserted before the emergency contact’s name. This ensures those contacts are found at the top of the list.
  • Some phones already include an In Case of Emergency entry at the top of the list. It’s a good idea to check a loved one’s contact list on a regular basis to ensure the information is up to date.
  • Seniors who use pass codes to lock their phones can still include ICE information on the lock screen. One way is to create an image with the ICE name and number, transfer the image to the phone and use the picture as the phone’s lock-screen wallpaper.

Read more about ICE: A Cell Phone Safety Campaign and download a free ICE label at the Visiting Angels website. The label can be printed on self-adhesive or regular paper and attached to a cell phone.

Read more tips on keeping the elderly safe in extreme winter weather, and download our free fall prevention guide.

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their
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loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wis. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353. Help support this ad-free blog by answering several questions about caregiving here. It will take just two minutes.


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