With the cold winter months approaching, it’s important that seniors take proactive measures. The cold brings increased illness, as well as more slips and falls. Seniors have a harder time healing, in comparison to younger individuals. It’s important to prevent falls and accidents from occurring.
Within the senior population, there are genuine concerns regarding the cold weather. Accidents and falls are always a concern, along with hypothermia and depression. When focusing on one’s safety, the key is prevention. When you take proactive measures, you can avoid a wide variety of safety concerns.
Tips For This Upcoming Winter Season
The winter months increase the risk that seniors will have an accident or become ill. However, this does not need to be the case. You can protect yourself and your loved one from the cold and ice. The following tips will help you or your loved one stay safe this winter season.
Tip One: Be Conscious of Ice
Each winter, thousands of seniors are treated in the emergency room for fall-related injuries. There is nothing we can do about snow and ice, but we can help prevent these falls and accidents. There are ways that you can prevent these incidents.
If you’re planning to go outside for a walk, then stretch before hand. This helps increase circulation, warming up your muscles. Basically, this makes you less prone to injury. You should also be conscious of the shoes you wear. Be sensible when choosing footwear, as there should be a low heel, with high levels of ankle support.
If you’re able, keep your home’s walkway clear. Continually sprinkle salt on icy areas, so that falls do not occur. If you can not maintain your front walkway, then have a friend or family member help you. If sidewalks are not cleared, simply avoid them.
If there’s too much snow, call for assistance. Do not try to shovel snow if you’re unable to. This will help you eliminate potential falls or even heart-related incidents. If the weather is too bad, simply stay in doors. There’s support available if needed.
Tip Two: Stay Warm
As we age, our senses tend to decline. Due to diabetes, arthritis, or poor circulation; many seniors lack feeling. When exposed to extremities, this can be dangerous. When one does not respond to cold temperatures, they increase their risk of hypothermia or pneumonia.
Within your home, keep your thermostat at 68 degrees or above. It’s important to keep your body temperature stable. If you’re struggling with energy bills, look into potential assistance. You may be eligible for assistance regarding your energy bills. You may also be eligible for home improvements that will decrease your energy costs.
The most obvious way to counteract the cold, is to dress appropriately. Invest in some light-weight clothes that you can layer. When outdoors, make sure your head, feet, and hands are properly covered. Since most heat is lost through our feet and head, it’s important to cover these areas well. Staying warm is the best defense you have.
Tip Three: Protect Your Skin
The older population tends to have issues with their skin. As we age, our skin becomes drier and thinner. The cold weather can make your skin even drier, which is why it’s important to protect it. You want to decrease your risk of cuts (which can occur more easily when your skin is dry). When trying to protect your skin, you can take proactive measures. If possible, keep your air fairly moist. This can be achieved through a humidifier or vaporizer.
You should also actively eat healthy and tend to your skin. To keep your skin healthy, it’s important that you consume enough liquids. Drink plenty of water, as this will help maintain your skin, as well as your overall health. You should also ensure a nutrient-rich diet, as this helps keep your skin healthy.
Invest in some creams that are beneficial to your skin. If you have sensitive skin, make sure you’re purchasing all natural creams and lotions. You want to avoid creams that contain high levels of chemicals. There are many all natural body butters available, which you can apply to your skin each day.
Tip Four: Maintain a Positive Attitude
During the winter months, seniors are at risk for depression. This not only affects their mental health, but their physical health as well. The winter months are often associated with restricted activity and isolation. It’s crucial that you maintain a positive attitude, keeping your spirits high.
During the winter months, the days are shorter. This means that there’s less sunlight. Due to the harsh weather and lack of sunlight, depression is not uncommon. To prevent depression, there are some proactive measures that can be taken.
Make sure you continually socialize, visiting with friends and family. You can also contact your local senior centre, inquiring about weekly activities. If you’re concerned with transportation, contact your local community centre to see what’s offered.
If the weather is bad and you cannot go out, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to people. Call a friend or family member. This will allow you to chat, breaking feelings of isolation. Basically, keep busy. Don’t let the winter blues affect your health.
Tip Five: Plan Ahead
We all know that the winter months can be unpredictable. In Canada, it’s not uncommon to be snowed in for a day or two. This is why it’s important to prepare for emergencies. When there’s winter storms, power outages are also a realistic concern. This is why planning ahead, will ensure you have the supplies needed.
Stock up on fresh water and food. Meals on Wheels is an amazing program, that often provides frozen meals during emergencies. You should also store some candles, extra batteries, flashlights, blankets, and even a generator if you can.
The main area is communication. Before an outage occurs, make sure you have a plan. Do not wait until there’s an emergency to develop a system of communication. If you live alone, plan ahead so that your friends and family know you’re safe.
Don’t let the winter season affect your physical or mental health. Take proactive measures, ensuring your safety and well-being. If you’re a caregiver, make sure you help your loved one prepare for the upcoming months. The addition support can make a big difference.
photo credit: Bert Kaufmann via photopin cc
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