Any kind of weather change can be challenging for everyone. It brings with it several side-effects that can create a bit of chaos in our lives until we have transitioned properly. Winters are the worse. The cold weather, falling temperature, chilly breeze and gloomy days can restrict us to our houses indefinitely. Things get tougher for older adults. During this time, the elderly run a higher risk of falling sick, getting injured, or getting weather-related health problems. Due to aging, their body temperature drops faster than other people. Changes in their body due to aging makes it harder for them. Their lowered immunity makes them susceptible to other health-related issues caused due to change in weather or lower temperature.
Therefore, it is important that the elderly take measures that will keep them safe from unexpected health issues. Safety should be their top priority and prepare for the winter months. We have prepared a list of winter safety tips for seniors. But before that, let’s call your attention to all the possible health issues older adults are at risk of during this time of the year.
Winter Safety Tips For Older Adults
- Asthma and Other Respiratory Issues: Asthma is one of the most common issues that occur during this time of the season. Cold air is the major trigger and even if you do not suffer from asthma it can cause wheezing and shortness of breath.
- Cold and flu: This is the most common problem that usually occurs at the start of the season. However, it is important to take precautions because it is highly contagious.
- Sore Throat: They are commonly caused by viral infections that can affect the throat. In such a situation, it is important to avoid variation in temperature of your environment and gargle with warm salty water.
- Joint Pains: Many people with arthritis or other joint pain issues have complained about aggravated pain during the winter season. This may restrict their mobility and movement.
- Heart Attack: The incidents of heart attack usually increase in cold weather. This makes heart patients and others more vulnerable to this horrifying issue. This is simply because cold weather increases blood pressure, and this puts the heart under stress. Therefore, the heart is forced to work harder to keep the body warmer.
- Hypothermia: This is a condition that is more common in cold locations. In such a situation, the body temperature drops to dangerous levels. It happens when you spend long hours outdoors or in cold places. Older adults are at greater risk of such problems because of aging process.
- Falls and injuries: This is usually common in places that receive snowfalls or where winters are moist. Slippery roads and wet pathways are the main reason they are prone to injury and fall.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder: Gloomy weather can really impact our mood and cause some seasonal depression. There is a change in mood that is largely attributed to dull weather, decreased daylight, lack of social engagement.
Apart from this, allergies, dry skin, weight gain, and lethargy are some common issues. However, these health challenges can be tackled if older adults commit themselves take the cold weather safety for older adults.
- Dress Appropriately To Stay Warm: To save yourself from falling sick or hypothermia, it is important to dress appropriately. Dress in layers to stay warm at all times. When venturing outdoors, it is important you dress as per the temperature. If the weather is windy, it is best to cover add head scarf, gloves, and socks to your attire. Don’t forget your winter coat that will keep your body warm and help you fight low temperature outside.
- Eat Balanced Diet: Remember, your body is constantly using fat and protein to keep you warm. Therefore, eating a healthy and rich diet in winters is very important. Also, vitamin-d deficiency is particularly common, therefore, enrich your diet with natural sources of vit-d. Also, add dry fruits, ginger, saffron, peppers, to your diet to keep yourself warm.
- Maintain Good temperature indoors: It is recommended to maintain proper temperature indoors. The temperature must not go higher or lower than 20-24 degree Celsius. As you seal your doors and windows, it is important to maintain good ventilation in the rooms. Once that is achieved, dress up to stay warm and avoid losing body heat.
- Avoid long exposures to the cold: At the same time, it is suggested avoiding going out when the temperature is dipping. It is best to avoid outdoor trips during peak wintertime. Also, if you want to run some errands and can’t avoid, plan your trip outdoors during the day when the temperature is maximum and there is the sun to keep you warm.
- Drink Enough Water: Many times, people forget to drink enough water. Unfortunately, in winters body does not give out the signs of thirst. Nonetheless, you must drink as much water in winter as much as you do in summers. Water is significant in keeping us healthy and skin look bright even in dry weather. It is the primary source of energy that you do not want to deprive your body of and risk dehydration.
- Get in Touch with Physician in Case of Emergency: Many older adults suffer from chronic or common old-age health issues. This requires them to take prescribed medications frequently. However, as the weather changes it is important to consult your doctor and discuss the medications. There are chances he or she might make changes in the dosage or the drug to suit the weather.
- Stay Socially Active: As mentioned above, winter can lead to some sort of depression. It is often referred to as “winter blues.” To avoid mood swings and feeling gloomy, it is suggested to spend time meaningfully with your loved ones and friends. Get together for meals and celebrate different occasions.
- Plan Your Day Ahead with Weather Updates: Use your smartphones and keep an eye on weather updates. Before stepping out, it is best to check the weather forecast and prepare for the same. It is better to practice caution than be sorry.
- Stock Up Essentials: In winters, bad and unpredictable weather conditions can restrict you to indoors. So, it is best to stock up essentials before the winters arrive. Extra food, water, medication, and other necessary items must be collected well in time so that when emergency strikes you don’t have to run outside.
10.Exercise regularly: People often neglect exercise in winters. This is not a good idea. Working out in winters can keep your energy levels high, prevent weight gain, reduce the chances of joint pains and stiffness, and keep you away from depression.
Winters can be challenging for older adults. However, practicing healthy health habits can go a long way. Conscious effort can prove to be very beneficial for them and allow them to enjoy the weather to the fullest.