Winter Health & Safety Tips for Seniors at Retirement Residences
The winter season can be daunting, from the cold temperatures and high risk of slips and falls on icy surfaces to the seasonal depression many people face due to a lack of sunshine and increased isolation. But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom the minute winter kicks in.
There are a lot of winter safety tips that can help seniors make the most of the season, while also ensuring their health and safety. It all starts with a few minor adjustments.
Keep reading for our senior's guide to staying healthy in the winter and learn how senior home care in Welland can help seniors combat loneliness, depression, and other health conditions.
Get Lots of Vitamin D
Getting enough vitamin D to maintain good bone health may be hard to come by in the winter months due to the lack of sunshine. Vitamin D deficiency is fairly common, and healthcare providers often recommend a supplement for senior patients.
If levels are too low, seniors could be at risk of a weakened immune system, nervous system, and muscle system. Seniors and care givers should be aware of the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency such as pain, fatigue, and muscle weakness.
Avoid Catching the Flu
The winter season usually goes hand in and with peak flu season. While every child, man, and woman are at risk, seniors require extra protection due to a weakening immune system from aging, health conditions, and use of prescription medications. In addition to washing hands regularly, disinfecting high touch surfaces, and avoiding crowded spaces, getting the flu shot can help avoid influenza symptoms.
Over the years, studies have shown a connection between isolation and physical and mental health issues. These conditions may include heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, a poor immune system, and cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
It’s important for seniors to socialize during the winter months. While winter storms, frigid temperatures, and the common cold may prevent face-to-face visits and outings with family and friends, seniors can stay connected thanks to today’s technology. Daily phone or video calls can help battle loneliness and boredom, both of which can lead to depression. Setting a specific time for the call can break up the long day, but just be sure to follow through as planned!
Avoid Icy Sidewalks and Driveways
Newly fallen snow can be heavy for most people to shovel, especially for seniors. Did you know that back injuries and heart attacks are more likely to occur from clearing a driveway or a roof of snow? Meanwhile ice pellets can easily turn a front yard into a skating rink, which increases the risk of slips and falls.
The good news is that most retirement communities will take care of all the winter maintenance for their residents. This means, seniors won’t have to handle the snow and ice on their own.
Eating a healthy diet is important all year-round, not just during the winter. Seniors should eat foods that are natural sources of vitamin D, such as fatty fish (salmon), mushrooms, eggs, and fortified foods. In addition, many fruits and root vegetables are great sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, iron, and antioxidants, which help boost the immune system and strengthen bones, teeth, and skin.
The best part about retirement living in Welland, specifically at The Grand Canal Retirement Residence, is that there are plenty of healthy yet delicious menu options to choose from at our onsite restaurant.
Wear Warm Clothing
Wearing the appropriate winter gear to battle the frigid temperatures cannot be overlooked. Seniors should wear warm boots with deep ridges and non-skid material on the soles. Any assistive walking devices such as a cane or walker should also be “winterized” with ice grips. Mittens help to retain heat better than gloves and sunglasses can protect against the daylight’s glare off the snow.
Hypothermia is an issue for many seniors as body heat can be affected by medical conditions, over-the-counter remedies, and prescription drugs. Hypothermia sets in when the body temperature drops, and for most seniors, this can occur at a body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintaining a room temperature above 68 degrees Fahrenheit, wearing layers of clothing made with natural fabrics, and not sitting near windows are recommended.
Winter’s cold temperatures combined with dry indoor heating can wreak havoc on the body physically. As we age, our skin and blood vessels thin, causing damage. Moisturizer can help prevent sore cracked skin that can lead to bleeding. Use lotion after washing hands and bathing to keep moisture locked in.
In addition to moisturizing, drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, can also help prevent dryness. Staining hydrated helps relieve aches and pains like cramping and arthritis because water lubricates joints and prevents muscle sprains. It also improves your immune system and replaces electrolytes.
Book a Tour of The Grand Canal Retirement Residence Today!
The long winter months can be tough, but with the right community by your side, they can also be a lot of fun! At The Grand Canal Retirement Residence, we provide services to alleviate worries that come with the winter season such as indoor active plans, healthy gourmet meals, and we even take care of icy and snowy walkways! Rest assured that our caring team members will ensure residents’ physical, emotional, and mental well-being are attended to with compassion and respect. Learn more about our “living with purpose” mission today by contacting us at (289) 480-0125 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.