As we find ourselves shivering as we settle into the bitter cold of winter, it’s a whole other ballpark of problems as we get older. Keeping warm in winter becomes a challenge at a senior age, as our bodies tend to not feel the effects of cold weather immediately. This can be particularly dangerous with clients living with diabetes, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s, arthritis or dementia/memory loss. Thus, staying healthy in winter for seniors is very important.
To help you, here are some winter tips for seniors to ensure that they are warm and safe during winter, whether you are a family member or a carer.
Winter safety tips for seniors
Senior winter safety tips while indoors
There is nothing better than being comfortable and toasty at home during winter. To keep the home warm enough for a senior:
- If there is a thermostat, make the temperature somewhere around 22 degrees
- Ensure windows are shut to avoid cold breezes entering the home.
- Keep doors of rooms not in use closed to make heating solutions more effective.
- Check that there are no additional drafts coming through the home – take note of door and window frames. This may require a repair being scheduled if any are letting cold air in.
- Get additional blankets for the client to have in the living room and bedroom so that they can have additional warmth over their legs.
- Seniors should be dressing warm, even with the heating on, whilst ensuring they are comfortable and able to move and do things.
- Fireplaces, electric blankets and portable heaters may be enticing, but it’s important to be aware that they are a fire hazard and should be used in moderation. Seniors may not be able to escape a fire as quickly and may even forget that these are on. Blankets with timers may be a good option, however it’s vital that these are always laid flat when in use.
- Ensure they are being checked on regularly. This may require collaboration among family, neighbours, carers and other people in their lives.
Senior winter safety tips when outdoors
As nice as it would be to stay inside all the time during winter, we have to venture out to get things done, such as groceries and visiting doctors. Staying safe outdoors will require:
- Appropriate dressing for the conditions. If it’s raining, take an umbrella and wear waterproof clothing to ensure that your body remains dry. If it’s cold, wear plenty of loose layers, which help keep heat around the body.
- Additional items like a hat and scarf are important as they keep the neck and face warm – an area where body heat can be lost if uncovered!
- Ensure shoes with plenty of grip are worn to avoid slipping on wet surfaces.
- Long socks are great under trousers to keep legs warm.
- When returning home, change your clothes if they get a little wet or extremely cold.
How to stay healthy in winter for seniors
1. Watch your daily food intake.
Sweet and fatty foods are best eaten during the winter. Those are fine in moderation, but make sure to keep them in check. It’s important to eat foods that are rich in vitamins A and D, antioxidants and probiotics, as well as important minerals like zinc, to keep your body strong.
2. Keep your body moving.
Consistent exercise can boost your mood and help strengthen your body. Whether it is a simple indoor exercise or a short walk outside your home, it should help you jumpstart your day with more energy!
3. Keep your doctor’s appointments
Prevention is better than cure. Make sure to keep up to date with your doctor’s appointments. For your safety, try to arrange a contactless check-up.
4. Find ways to protect yourself from getting seasonal depression
How to beat the winter blues for seniors is one of the hardest things to battle during winter. Some of the best winter tips for seniors to overcome this include going out to see your family and friends whenever possible and doing activities you enjoy the most. If the weather is not conducive for a visit, a virtual hangout is also possible. It’s best to stay connected with the people you love as much as you can.
Our elderly loved ones will surely be able to welcome spring with a healthy body and positive mind with these simple and manageable winter health tips for seniors! To add to this list of healthy things to do, we also have a list of winter activities for seniors with dementia. These activities are something you can easily do with them. They are easy to access and enjoyable. But most of all, these will surely make them feel loved and cared for.
Winter activities for seniors with dementia
1. Decorating garden pots
Since spring is coming up, this would be an engaging activity for them, they have something to anticipate for and the colours they are putting in together will surely brighten up their mood!
2. Playing their favourite music
Playing familiar songs that trigger memories of past experiences is a great way to spark up a conversation.
3. Tea and hot chocolate tasting
With so many options to try, your loved one’s senses of smell and taste will be stimulated. It’s even more fun with colourful tea cups and mugs!
4. Journal writing
Creating a lovely keepsake of important moments they’re eager to share while having a conversation with them is one of the sweetest activities you can partake with your loved ones with dementia.
5. Puzzles, cup stacking games and board games
These activities are a great way to stimulate their mind while equally enjoying some quality time with them.
With these points in mind, seniors can be safe and warm during the winter.
During the colder months, it is critical that they are examined on a regular basis. Vital Home Health Services performs all essential checks to ensure that our senior clients are secure, comfortable and healthy in the comfort of their homes! We also make sure that they are prepared when brought outside.
It is extra important we take precautions right now as well, so we work to overcome the pandemic. Keep up-to-date with our Covid updates here.
Do you or a loved one need extra care at home this winter? Contact us with any enquiries today.