Winter is a dangerous season for seniors. They are more vulnerable to the extreme cold. It can be isolating when weather makes it difficult to get around. Additionally, it is the season of influenza and the freezing weather increases fall risks.
Senior well-being is important to the Paradigm Living Concepts team, especially during these chilly months.
Check out our top ten tips to keep seniors warm and safe this winter:
- Winter Footwear: When heading outside wear footwear with non-slip soles and thermal socks. This will help prevent falls and will keep feet nice and warm.
- Slip Prevention: It’s important to keep steps, driveways, and walkways as free of ice as possible; sprinkle them with a mixture of salt and sand. Don’t hesitate to ask for or hire help. A well positioned grab rail can help as well.
- Wear Layers: It is warmer to wear several thin layers of clothing than one thick layer. Wool and cotton fibers help to hold warmth in. Thermal underwear or tights make for a good under-layer.
- Cover Head, Feet, and Hands: Did you know 40% to 45% of body heat is lost through the head? To prevent this heat loss in cold weather it is important to wear a warm hat. Warm gloves and footwear are equally important to keep hands and feet warm.
- Dress for the Cold…Even Indoors: Wear warm clothing indoors, even overnight in bed. This can be more effective than cranking up the heat and will certainly be more efficient.
- Body Heat: Don’t forget that a person riding in a wheelchair does not produce the same amount of body heat as a person walking. A warm blanket or leg warmers help to keep in body heat and reduce wind chill.
- Eat Well: Seniors should eat hot nutritious meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Special care should be taken to avoid dehydration, which can be hard to identify during the colder months.
- Seasonal Vaccinations: Seniors should be annually vaccinated against the pneumonia and flu. The Center for Disease Control recommends getting the vaccine as soon as it becomes available because it takes the body about two weeks to build up an immunity.
- Stockpile Medicines: Stock up on common medicines for sore throats, colds, and coughs. Order prescription drug refills in advance so that there’s no reason to go out in bad weather.
- Keep Active: Moving around produces body heat and is good for general well-being. During the winter don’t sit still for more than an hour, get up, walk around, and make a warm drink. Spread activities throughout the day.