Cold Weather Safety For Seniors

 

Cold Weather Safety For SeniorsWhen winter’s beauty turns more beastly with arctic winds, mounds of snow and bone-chilling temperatures, the season’s harsh side can prove especially dangerous for senior adults. Even older snowbirds escaping to warmer climates still can encounter dips in the thermometer, dampening rains and icy navigation.

“Colder weather is not particularly kind to seniors,” said Gregg Balbera, president of Right at Home Nassau Suffolk. “Slick sidewalks lead to falls; colds and the flu escalate; and depression looms because of indoor confinement and less social interaction. To counter the wintertime risks for older adults, basic planning and prevention can make the cold weather manageable and actually enjoyable.”

To help families ensure their seniors stay warm and safe during winter months, Balbera recommends the following precautions:

Stay warm indoors

A comfortable thermostat setting in winter is 68° to 70° F. Many elders push their thermostats to higher temperatures, but this promotes over-dry skin and nasal passages, and raises the heating bill. Instead, seniors who feel chilled might consider wearing thicker socks, fleece slippers and a thin, thermal undershirt and leggings. Today’s lightweight “long johns” trap body heat, wick away moisture and layer well beneath outer clothes. Wearing a scarf around the neck and a knit hat also can increase one’s warmth around the house.

Cold Weather Safety For SeniorsBeware of slick outdoor conditions

Inclement weather can create a buildup of snow, ice and mud on walkways and driveways. Outdoor fall prevention includes these tips: wear nonskid boots, get help with snow shoveling, use ice melt or sand for traction, and watch diligently for black ice.

Wear appropriate clothing outdoors

To prevent heat loss or hypothermia when body temperature drops too low, the elderly who venture into the cold should wear light, layered, loose-fitting clothing under an insulated, waterproof winter coat. Outerwear with a fleece lining and windproof shell is a plus. A hat is a must since as much as 50 percent of body heat is lost through the head. Weatherproof, lined gloves or mittens that still allow for flexibility are also a smart answer to the cold.

Stay current on immunizations

Seniors with a weakened immune system are more vulnerable to catching colds and the flu or more severe illnesses including pneumonia. Older adults should consult with their doctor about seasonal and year-round immunizations that are best for their individual overall health.
Consume a balanced diet

Individuals who remain indoors more during winter find it tempting to eat starchy convenience foods and skip fresh fruits and vegetables. Adding vegetables to soups and fruits to smoothies is an easy way to add vitamin-enriched foods to a senior’s diet. With less natural sunlight during winter to boost a body’s vitamin D level, eating vitamin-D fortified foods including grains, milk and seafood can help.

tea-1090672_1280Keep well-hydrated

Although the elderly may not feel as thirsty in cooler weather, drinking six to eight glasses of liquid a day is still advised. Hot tea, apple cider and cocoa are fun additions to a wintertime beverage list, but stay mindful of the extra sugar and calories.

Ward off isolation and depression

Harsh weather invites less social interaction, and for many seniors, can put a damper on mental health. To prevent loneliness and the winter blues in the elderly, schedule regular outings, personal visits, phone calls and social networking. Staying connected with others helps trigger the body’s natural mood lifters including dopamine, serotonin and endorphins.

With safety steps in place, aging adults can enjoy more beauty in winter than beast.

Want It In Print?

We now offer matted and framed copies of articles upon request.

Anton Media Staff
In addition to its arts and entertainment publication Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group publishes 16 community newspapers, several magazines, specialty publications and websites. With brands dating back to 1877, Anton has a commitment to deliver trusted and relevant content to the communities it serves.

Leave a Reply

Discover

Sponsor

Latest

Mets Focus On Summer Camp As Opening Day Looms

The New York Mets are ready for the MLB season to start. There is no more "if" players will take to the field. The orange...

Old Westbury Gardens Reopens

Gates open with updated safety precautions, including timed entry reservations.

Fashion Trends For Summer 2020

The latest fashion trends are still a must for keeping cool and looking good during your next socially-distant cookout or shopping trip.

Thought Gallery: Three Virtual Events To Keep You Busy This Week

Consider these recommendations for upcoming virtual talks, readings and more in and around New York City: P&P Live!: Thomas Frank—The People, No: A Brief History...

Get Updates Via Email

Enter your email to be updated with all the latest news and special announcements.

x