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5 Tips to Help Seniors Stay Warm This Winter

5-Tips-to-Help-Seniors-Stay-Warm

As we age, our body’s ability to regulate internal body temperature and sense fluctuations in temperature can decrease. This is a particularly important function for Seniors as it gets into the colder months because of possible health risks, such as hypothermia.

One of the misconceptions about hypothermia is that it only occurs in extremely cold environments, but in actuality, people may begin experiencing symptoms at just 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hypothermia presents a very real danger for Seniors, but fret not, there are some actions you can take to not only prevent hypothermia but also feel comfortable this winter. Here are some general tips to help you stay warm in the 2018-2019 winter season.

1. A Warm Home

During the colder months, your heating bills can get expensive. However, don’t let this deter you from keeping yourself warm indoors. It may be tempting to lower your thermostat to save a few extra dollars. However, any home that’s lower than 68 degrees can pose a risk for Seniors, especially in a poorly insulated home.

At a minimum, keep your thermostat above 68 degrees and ensure your windows and doors are well insulated, which will only help you save on your heating bills, and ultimately stay warm.

2. Bundle Up

Wearing more layers is essential during the winter months for Seniors. Start with a basic layer made of fabric such as wool, polyester, or flannel to help wick away moisture. This will keep you dry, and ultimately warm, as wet clothes do little to help with warmth.

Don’t be shy about wearing more layers, especially when venturing outdoors. While it’s easy to take a layer off when it gets too hot, it’s much more difficult to find a jacket or a coat when you’re away from home.

3. Cover Your Extremities

Another essential tip is keeping your extremities warm, especially outdoors. Seniors may have some trouble regulating temperatures in their extremities, which can result in poor blood circulation to the hands and feet.

Consider wearing dry gloves, thick socks, and a good pair of boots when going outdoors to prevent heat from escaping your body.

4. Eat Warm Foods

Eating healthy foods is important for Seniors, but it can even help you stay warm in the winter. Due to aging, medications, or pre-existing health issues, some Seniors may struggle with eating well. Loss of appetite can occur because of these factors. However, it’s important to keep yourself well fed during the colder months to ensure your body has all the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy immune system.

Try introducing extra healthy fats into your diet to boost your metabolism, which in turn, keeps your body warmer. If healthy fats aren’t a viable option, soups, stews, and chili are also great ways to warm your body inside out. Consider avoiding alcoholic beverages, as they will thin your blood, which will only your body temperature.

5. Exercise

Another simple way to increase your body temperature and increase your appetite is exercise. Regular exercise keeps your body stay fit and helps maintain a healthy and robust immune system, which is essential in preventing colds and cases of flu in the winter.

Although exercising outdoors may not be a great option during the winter months, local recreation centers or senior centers have indoors gyms can offer a safe and practical solution to stay healthy and fit.

There are a few activities that are particularly dangerous for seniors; follow these suggestions to handle them with ease:

Snow Shovelling Tips

Shoveling the snow can pose risks for seniors. Not only are they at risk for heart-related problems but they could also strain a muscle or fall. Here are a few tips to clear away the snow with fewer risks:

  • Bundle up— You don’t want to be exposed to extreme temperatures. Layering is more important than thick, bulky items because you’ll be able to move around easier.
  • Don’t lift snow with your back — When you shovel, push the snow forward and then using your legs, scoop the snow out.
  • Take breaks — Don’t try to do the entire driveway and sidewalks all at once. Do a small section at a time, then rest and do some more.
  • Keep hydrated
  • Use a lightweight shovel so you don’t strain your muscles.

Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Part of ensuring you will be safe driving in the winter is to get your vehicle prepared for the blast of nasty weather. These tips should help:

  • Have your tires checked before the weather gets
  • Check your windshield wiper blades and replace them if they look worn or ragged.
  • Make sure you are familiar with how the defrosters work; this window fog and reduced visibility.
  • Keep a small shovel in your trunk in case you get stuck.
  • Keep a jumper cable in your vehicle in case you have a bad battery (although if you have roadside assistance, they will come out for that but be forewarned, they sometimes take a long time).

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Driving can be a challenge in the winter months, especially if the roads become slick. Whenever you have to take a drive in the winter, be sure to make the necessary preparations. Here are a few things you can do to prepare:

  • Make sure you have a cell phone with you in case of an accident.
  • Wear appropriate outerwear in case you get stuck in snow or break down.
  • Check with your insurance to make sure you have roadside assistance.
  • When driving in inclement weather, use your headlights for better visibility.

Preparing for Power Outages

The winter is known for its strong winds, blinding blizzards, and damaging ice. When winter storms hit, power may go out, leaving seniors vulnerable if they’re not prepared. Use the tips below to handle a power outage with ease:

  • Keep candles, flashlights, and lighters on hand for emergencies.
  • If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged up if you notice a storm is approaching.
  • If you can, invest in a small generator so you can have heat in the event of a power outage.
  • Keep a large stock of blankets.
  • Have plenty of bottled water on hand.
  • If possible, stay with a friend or loved one during a storm.
  • If you have a pet, cuddle with your furry animal to keep warm.

Following these tips can not only keep you warm but will also keep you safe this winter. Helping seniors stay safe and retain their independence is important to us.

If you have any concerns about mobility or navigating your two-story home, Easy Climber offers safe and practical home solutions, such as Stair Lifts, or Home Elevators to help you.

Contact us today if you have any questions!