Old Man Winter has arrived, bringing with him freezing temperatures, snow, sleet, and ice. This time of year can pose hazards for all of us, but it can be particularly precarious for adults over the age of 65 who face different risks than younger populations during the frigid months.
This winter, help the seniors in your life stay healthy and safe with a few cold-weather reminders:
#1: Dress for the weather
If your loved one needs to go outside during the chilly months, remind them to bundle up with several loose layers of clothing, a good coat, a hat, and gloves. Natural age-related changes cause older adults to lose body heat more quickly, and they may become less aware of the sensation of getting cold. This makes seniors more susceptible to hypothermia, which occurs when one’s body temperature drops below 95°. Hypothermia doesn’t just happen outdoors or in below-zero temperatures, either. It can set in with temperatures as high as 60°! Make sure your loved one’s home is warm enough with the heat set to at least 68–70° and encourage them to dress warmly, even indoors.
#2: Prevent slips and falls
Winter’s wet, icy, and snowy conditions can cause people of all ages to slip, but older adults face a greater risk of serious injury if they experience a fall. One out of every four seniors will fall each year in the United States, and one in five falls will cause an injury, such as broken bones or a head injury. To help prevent falls during the winter months, make sure your loved one is wearing shoes that fit properly and have non-slip soles with good traction. It’s also important to keep their floors dry and clear of clutter, loose area rugs, or electrical cords. Remember, while falls are common, they are not a normal part of aging. Taking balance classes can help seniors stay steady on their feet and remain independent.
#3: Eat healthy, balanced meals
During the cold winter months, we’re more likely to crave indulgent “comfort foods,” which may not be the most nutritious choice. To help support healthy aging and provide mood-boosting benefits, encourage your loved one to eat a balanced diet that includes protein, whole grains, healthy fats, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Some hearty winter meal ideas include soups, oatmeal, baked potatoes, roasted pumpkin or squash, and salmon or chicken with rice and leafy greens.
#4: Prepare for emergencies
Winter storms can lead to power outages, which can turn into a dangerous situation for seniors living alone. Help your loved one prepare for the unexpected by creating an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, water bottles, and warm blankets and clothing. Be sure your loved one knows who to call in the event of an emergency. Make a list of emergency contact numbers and put it in an easily accessible place, like the refrigerator.
#5: Stay connected
Loneliness and isolation are serious health concerns for older adults, and winter’s harsh conditions can make it especially difficult for seniors to get out and socialize. Extended periods of time at home may lead to loneliness and boredom, and ongoing COVID-19 safety precautions can make this time of year even more isolating for older adults.
You can make a big difference in helping a senior loved one avoid social isolation and loneliness this winter. It’s as easy as making a phone call to stay in touch! No one wants to feel like a burden, and many seniors resist asking for help. Be the one to check in with your loved one regularly, whether you set aside time to visit in person or schedule a phone call or video chat. Staying connected will be valuable for both of you, helping to lift your spirits and keep the winter blues at bay.
Say Goodbye to Winter Worries with Assisted Living
If you’re concerned about the health and well-being of a loved one who lives alone, it might be time to suggest assisted living. After moving to assisted living at Bethany Village, your loved one will no longer have to worry about home upkeep, shoveling snow, running errands, preparing meals, and finding ways to stay social. Instead, they’ll spend time enjoying delicious chef-prepared meals, activities and hobbies that fit their interests, and opportunities to socialize with new friends in a warm, home-like environment.
By providing support with daily tasks as needed, assisted living enables seniors to maintain their independence for longer and improves their overall quality of life. Assisted living also allows family caregivers to resume their relationship with their loved one and make the most of every moment together.
The best way to learn more about assisted living is to visit! Contact us today to request more information and arrange a private tour of Crescent Crossing Assisted Living or Pavilion Assisted Living Memory Care. We look forward to meeting you and your family!