7 Winter Health and Safety Tips for Seniors
Health and safety are important for seniors all year round. But the winter poses unique risks to seniors. Cold temperatures can leave many wanting to stay inside. Snow and ice make it more difficult for seniors to get out of the house and enjoy the activities they love. And the increased risk of flu and colds can leave many wanting to stay home in order to avoid being sick.
Don’t let winter keep you from enjoying the things you love. Here are some simple winter health and safety tips to ensure you can stay active during these cold months:
- Take Precautions to Avoid Falls. Even minor slips or falls can cause debilitating injuries for seniors. Be sure to take precautions when venturing outdoors. Wear warm, well-fitted boots or shoes with plenty of traction and non-skid soles. You can also add traction cleats to footwear, which can further help grip whatever surfaces you’re on and keep you from falling. Avoid icy or snow-covered sidewalks whenever possible. And if using a cane, but sure to replace tips that are visibility worn. Additionally, place shoes mats both inside and outside the house to avoid slipping on landings.
- Give Your Immune System a Boost. Be sure to maintain a balanced diet filled with plenty of fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Doing so will help you maintain a healthy weight and give your immune system a boost, leaving you less susceptible to winter colds or flus. Additionally, regularly consume foods fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, grains and fish, like tuna or salmon. Doing so can help decrease your risk for vitamin D deficiency, which can also impact your immune system and your overall health. Finally, talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated for flu and pneumonia, which can be deadly in seniors.
- Find Ways to Stay Active Every Day. Whether it’s doing some projects or chores around the house, heading to a senior-friendly fitness class or using an exercise DVD at home, it’s important that seniors find ways to be active each and every day. Doing so can keep seniors from developing sedentary habits while also helping to maintain or increase mobility, build strength and reduce cognitive decline.
- Make Sure Furnaces, Fireplaces & Heaters are in Working Order. It’s important that seniors keep their homes warm during the winter months. In fact, many heating and cooling experts recommend maintaining a temperature around 20°C during the winter. Be sure to have furnaces, fireplaces and heaters inspected and maintained at least once per year, preferably before the cold weather sets in. Those using gas furnaces or fireplaces should also make sure they have carbon monoxide detectors installed on each floor, including the basement, and that they are in working order.
- Keep Your Winter Emergency Kit Stocked. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast and prepare yourself for severe winter storms by keeping your winter emergency kit fully stocked. That means keeping a supply of bottled water and non-perishable foods on hand, as well as plenty of blankets. Seniors should also make sure generators are in working order in the event of a power outage. Finally, keep in close contact with family and friends before and during the storm.
- Dress in Layers Outdoors. Seniors in particular are more susceptible to hypothermia than other age groups. When going outdoors, be sure to dress in multiple layers. This will not only help keep your body warm, but allow you to easily remove layers in the event you become overheated. Additionally, be sure to always wear a warm jacket, scarf, hat and gloves and limit skin exposure in extreme cold temperatures to reduce your risk of developing frostbite.
- Make Time to Socialize with Friends & Family. Being cooped up in the winter for too long can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness in seniors, which, over time, could increase your risk for cognitive decline, and the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Whether it’s committing to weekly dinners with a close friend or relative, daily phone calls to a loved one, or joining a book or hobby club, it’s important that seniors find time to stay social, no matter how harsh the weather or cold the temperatures.
Helping Seniors Stay Healthy & Safe at Symphony Senior Living
One of the best ways to keep seniors healthy and safe during the winter is to ensure they have easy access to the services and amenities they need. A senior living community, such as Symphony Senior Living can help! We believe residents should live life on their own terms. That’s why we provide seniors easy access to healthy, community-style dining, safe transportation, fitness and wellness programs, regular social events and more.
Additionally, our “Oasis®” assisted living community provides seniors with the assistance they need doing daily tasks, such as medication management, dressing, bathing and more to ensure they’re never held back from living life to the fullest.
Come explore all the benefits community living has to offer both during the winter and all year round. Contact Symphony Senior Living to learn more about our living options and to schedule a tour.