Locked out: 90-year-old Michigan woman dies of hypothermia while feeding birds and cats

With temperatures across the U.S. dipping to deadly lows, we all need to keep in mind just how quickly hypothermia can set in. A 90-year-old woman died last Wednesday on the steps of her home near Long Lake in Fabius Township, Michigan.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Ada Salna had gone outside to feed the birds and her cats. She somehow locked herself outside the home at the fairly isolated property and was found dead around 1:30 p.m. Ada had tried breaking a window to get back inside and between the loss of blood and the hypothermia she didn’t make it.

In an interview with WOODTV News pathologist Joyce deJong from Western Michigan University stated Ada died of hypothermia. Ada was last seen around 54 pm Tuesday. She could have died at any time between then and Wednesday afternoon as hypothermia can set in within minutes.

Ada was covered in snow when she was found. Neighbors described her as a lady who kept to herself and may not have known much English.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital injury prevention specialist Jennifer Hoekstra said the eight-degree temperature which dipped to -15 before Ada’s body was found were life-threatening. Especially since the wind chills were between -40 and -45.

“All in all, throughout all of these cold temperatures for every age, it’s really important to limit the time that we’re outside, to cover up exposed skin, and to make sure we’re prepared with the correct clothing when we head outdoors.”

Please keep a check on the elderly in your area during the cold weather. If you have to go outside for any reason, it’s a good idea to take precautions and be sure you have the key to your home on you just in case you accidentally lock yourself out.

Bring cats and other pets inside if at all possible. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to set up space in a small bathroom or laundry room. Keep garage doors cracked if you have stray cats you care for.

It’s so sad this poor woman lost her life caring for birds and cats. I feel sure many of us can relate to her. Personally, my daughter and I put out birdseed for the Cardinals and sparrows who depend on us and both canned and dry cat food for the opossum family who comes to eat each night.

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6 thoughts on “Locked out: 90-year-old Michigan woman dies of hypothermia while feeding birds and cats”

  1. This story is so sad. Ada’s heart and soul have already been blessed through her kindness to less fortunate creatures. 😥💜💜🐾🗝️

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  2. I would not be surprised to find meself in her position someday because it is not in my genetic makeup to allow any cat to go hungry be them mine or not but I also know to keep my door ajar abnout 1/2 an inch when I go outside in sub temps to feed the cats in the heated shelter i have provided for them,I wonder if those cats now will still be fed by the neighbors.

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  3. Oh, Lord. This could, actually, be me. There is nothing that stops me from caretaking. I have been out in hurricane winds greater than 100 mph just to make sure that cats are hunkered down somewhere and not roaming (flying) or trapped under falling debris.
    This poor woman died doing what she loved and felt her mission was. I’m sorry that she hadn’t gotten to a neighbor when she found herself locked out. She’ll be in a very special place. R.I.P., Ada.

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  4. Just awfully sad. Keeping an eye out, offering a helping hand to the vulnerable in communities is so important. The offers of help may be rebuffed, keeping an eye out for a person might be rejected as ‘nosiness’ but those simple contacts may save a life.

    Poor, kind lady.

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  5. This breaks my heart so much. Some people might think “She had a long life, at least.” which is not the point at all. You need to put yourself in her place, or imagine if she was someone close to you at the very least. The very young usually have someone looking over them at all times, but they and the elderly are especially vulnerable, and no one looked after this kind old soul. She put herself in the vulnerable animals’ place (literally) and risked herself to help them survive. Way, way too sad…

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