Winter can be an exciting time of the year, whether living at home or in an independent living community. This season is filled with holidays, gift-giving and time with friends and family. Winter also brings numerous health and safety concerns for seniors. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this time of the year. It just means you need to keep several things in mind to make sure you stay safe.
Keep reading to find out what steps you can take to keep yourself safe this winter.
According to a recent study, 1 in 4 seniors aged 65 and over fall every year. These falls can lead to serious injuries, such as fractures, and leave the senior immobile for some time. Certainly, snow and ice during the winter can increase the risk of falls among seniors. However, you can reduce this risk by wearing the right footwear.
First, it’s important that your shoes fit properly and aren't too loose. Secondly, you want to make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for the outdoor weather conditions. For example, if it's snowing or icy, a nice pair of waterproof boots with plenty of traction on the bottom is a good option. On cold days, insulated boots can keep your feet warm and help control your body temperature.
It’s vital to maintain a body temperature higher than 95 degrees Fahrenheit, whether indoors or outdoors. Any drop in body temperature that goes below 95 degrees could cause hypothermia to set in. It can also prompt other medical conditions, such as a heart attack, liver damage or kidney issues.
It’s extremely important to always dress appropriately for outdoor weather conditions. Consider dressing in layers. This step allows you to stay warm outdoors and remove a layer of clothing once you’re back inside. You should also have a waterproof winter jacket, preferably one with a hood to cover your head. Additionally, you always want to wear a hat, gloves, boots and scarf when it’s cold outside.
Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with depression, mood disorders and joint pain. As a senior, it’s more important than ever to get a daily dose of vitamin D. During the summer, you can easily absorb vitamin D by enjoying the great outdoors and sunny weather. However, winter is a different story. Due to the colder weather, seniors tend to spend more time indoors and, therefore, don’t get as much exposure to the sun’s rays.
Instead, it’s important for seniors to adjust their diet to include more foods rich in vitamin D, such as milk, eggs, tuna, cheese and fortified cereal. If you don’t do so already, you can also take a daily multivitamin to increase your vitamin D intake. Making vitamin D a part of your well-balanced diet can help you stay healthy this winter.
Dehydration is often associated with hot temperatures and sunny weather, but this can also be an issue during the winter. In fact, cold air tends to be drier than hot air. To accommodate the drier air, your body’s respiratory system needs to produce moisture to warm it up. To accomplish this, your body must be well-hydrated.
Unfortunately, seniors also tend to struggle with diminished thirst perception. This means you may not realize you’re thirsty or your body needs more water. To avoid dehydration and its complications, such as cognitive decline, confusion, increased joint pain and constipation, be sure to drink plenty of water. According to the National Council on Aging, seniors should drink a volume of liquid that equates to at least one-third of their body weight. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should drink at least 40 ounces of water per day.
As you age, your skin can lose its elasticity and become thinner. You may have already noticed how thinning skin can be more susceptible to drying and cracking, which can lead to infections and itchy skin. To avoid these issues, it’s important to protect your skin.
For example, drinking plenty of water and using moisturizer regularly can keep your skin hydrated and smooth while reducing the risk of cracking and infection. It’s also important to protect your skin from outdoor weather conditions, such as wind, rain and sun. Whether it’s winter or summer, you should always cover up exposed skin to reduce the risk of drying and cracking.
Staying safe this winter should be a top priority for you and your loved one. Keeping these tips in mind can go a long way to ensuring you have a happy, safe and healthy winter season. At Montereau, our team of caregivers always makes our residents’ safety and health their number one priority. Call 918-495-1500 to schedule a tour or to learn more about our deluxe senior living community.
Tuesday, December 12, 2023
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