Healthy aging is a year-round commitment and when the seasons bring extreme temperatures, seniors need to take extra precautions in order to stay safe and preserve their overall health and well-being. The summer months can bring high temperatures and humid conditions, both of which can cause potential health risks to elderly adults. Staying cool is the priority and there are many ways to beat the heat.
When the winter months arrive, seniors must contend with bone-chilling temperatures that can fall well below freezing. These conditions also come with severe and potentially dangerous consequences but the winter time can also bring emotional and psychological challenges for older individuals. The winter is also when the holidays arrive, which can spark feelings of loneliness or melancholy.
There are ways to combat the affects of winter on seniors and your friends at Seniors Helping Seniors North Orlando want to offer these five important winter health tips for seniors who may be having some trouble dealing with the challenges that come along this time of year.
1. Outfit The Home Properly
When it gets cold out, it might quickly get cold inside too. Seniors can have a tough time regulating their body temperature effectively, making the winter months tough to manage. Complicating matters is the fact that seniors are sometimes living on fixed incomes and they don’t have a lot of money to spend on the essentials.
That might include their heating bill which can expose seniors to a colder environment than they might be used to, this could lead to a variety of health risks including hypothermia and influenza. Both of these threats could be tragic for elderly adults who are unprepared to stave off such conditions.
Keeping that in mind, seniors should always set their thermostats to no less than 69 degrees Fahrenheit and have easy access to warm blankets. Space heaters are also a good way to warm up without turning up the thermostat. Wearing additional layers around the house can also be an effective way to fight back against the chilly weather.
2. Open the Curtains
Or blinds or shades or whatever window covering your senior has installed in his or her home. Sunlight is a powerful solution for dealing with two separate problems that seniors may face in the winter. The first relates to our previous tip about heating the home. Allowing direct sunlight to come in through the window can increase the warmth in the room where that window is located.
Just be careful about allowing that heat to sneak back out through the window panes. Shut those window dressings when the sun goes down, leaving behind the warmth of the sun’s rays.
The other issue that sunlight can solve is the feelings of melancholy that are associated with the cold winter months. The sun’s light can brighten up any room and help chase away feelings of depression that seniors are more prone to experiencing when the cold weather comes.
3. Plenty of Exercise
Seniors need exercise all year round. Staying active can help ward off illness and disease, keep joints healthy and pain-free, and it does wonders for the heart and respiratory system. What you may not know is that exercise can also wake up the brain, increase self-esteem, and provide a much-needed energy boost to get through the day.
But when it comes to choosing the right type of exercise, it’s important for seniors to know their limitations and heed doctor’s orders. You don’t need to overdo it, even mild exercise is okay and you can even go outside to do it. Just be smart about going out in subzero weather and for those days where it’s colder than usual, don’t forget to bundle up.
Put on sunscreen as well, even though there may be snow on the ground and the sun isn’t at full strength, those UV rays can still do some damage to skin.
4. Good Eating Habits
Healthy aging means healthy eating but that can be a tough thing to do in the winter. Many healthy forms of produce are not available when it’s cold out, making these items somewhat more expensive to purchase. When in doubt, go with the frozen options and fill your cart with the fruits and veggies that are in season during the winter.
Seniors also need to be careful about getting the vitamins and nutrients they need to stay healthy. So seek out foods rich in vitamin C and zinc. A supplement is also a good alternative.
5. Reach Out
Seniors can start to feel lonely and isolated during the winter. They can ward off these feelings by staying in touch with friends and loved ones. Whether it’s setting a date to meet up in person or calling on the phone, the best way to fight loneliness is to spend time with others.