Cold Weather Safety For Older Adults
November 30th, 2020 | Senior Health
Autumn has passed with its glorious colors and pleasantly crisp temperatures, which means that winter is upon us. While cold temperatures and snowfall can make winter a cozy and comfortable season, it also is full of potential dangers for seniors. Here is what you need to know about staying as safe as possible this winter.
Snow and Ice
Winter weather means that snow and ice are often inevitable. While it might look beautiful while watching large snowflakes fall from the comfort of your warm home, the snow and ice can cause increased fall risks around the outside of your house.
In order to stay as safe as possible, consider these tips from our experts:
- Double-check stairway railings to ensure they are secure prior to the first snowfall
- Hire a reliable landscaping agency to take care of snow removal promptly
- Keep a bucket of salt or ice melt near all doors so you can easily make the pavement safer to walk on
- Only wear sturdy shoes or boots with excellent traction when you are out and about outdoors
- Ask family members or neighbors to run errands on your behalf if you cannot safely get out in the snow or ice
- Replace any worn tips on your cane or walker prior to the first snowfall
- When possible, stay off the roads until they are clear
- Take off shoes immediately when indoors so the melting snow does not cause wet and slick spots inside your home
In addition to the snow and ice, winter weather includes frigid temperatures. When the weather becomes freezing outdoors, seniors can end up making decisions that lead to poor health outcomes. Here are a few items to check on before the winter weather takes a turn for the worse as well as tips for staying warm indoors.
Here are safety tips from our experts:
- Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home
- Replace the filters in your furnace
- Schedule your annual furnace maintenance appointment
- Turn on the heater
- Avoid using space heaters in the home
Unfortunately, seniors who are on a fixed income can sometimes wait for too long to turn on the heater in order to avoid higher energy bills. Unfortunately, this can lead to frozen pipes and other home maintenance issues in addition to feeling cold and stiff. Seniors should also avoid using space heaters as they have been proven to increase the risk of a house fire.
Winter weather can keep seniors indoors for longer stretches at a time, which can mean less access to fresh produce and food. However, the winter season is when our bodies need immune-boosting foods to keep us as healthy as possible.
Here are some tips for ensuring your nutrition doesn’t miss a beat during the wintertime:
- Invite a family member over to make a few big batches of your favorite soups. Store individual portions in the freezer so you always have something to pull out for a healthy meal.
- Use ingredients like bone broths, spinach, garlic, and bell peppers for an extra immune-boosting punch
- Consider using a grocery delivery service so you can receive fresh produce no matter if you can make it to the store of not
- Sign up for your town’s Meals on Wheels services
Health and Wellness
Cold weather and snowy conditions might keep you from visiting your physician or getting the follow-up assistance you need to stay as healthy as possible. You can decrease your risk of missing appointments or skipping medications by planning ahead.
Here are tips from our team that can keep you healthy and well this winter:
- Sign up for mail deliveries of your prescription medications
- Ask a family member to assist you to/from your physician appointments so that you don’t have to worry about driving or navigating the cold conditions on your own
- Don’t let your physical exercise routine slip; if you can’t get out to your favorite class, take one online using YouTube
- Order your vitamins online or ask a family member to pick some up for you
Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to winter weather for seniors is that the poor conditions can increase isolation at home. Seniors who are isolated at home are more likely to feel lonely, which can lead to increased depression and anxiety, decreased immune system, and even more rapid cognitive decline.
You can stay connected to family and friends in the midst of the winter by:
- Scheduling phone calls on your calendar with family and friends
- Connecting with others using apps like FaceTime, Zoom, or Facebook Messenger
- Using online games, like Scrabble GO!, to play with pals
The Benefits of Legend Senior Living
The winter season can feel cold, dark, and overwhelming for many seniors. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend this season alone. Instead, choose to invest in a retirement lifestyle that is designed to keep you healthy, happy, and connected with others.
Legend Senior Living residences offer you just what you need this winter and beyond:
- Relationships with neighbors and associates
- A well-crafted activity and event calendar, packed full of daily opportunities to get out of your apartment and with your friends
- Safe transportation to and from local spots
- Delicious chef-prepared meals three times per day in our bustling dining room
- A maintenance team to take care of all the landscaping, including snow and ice removal
- Nurses and caregivers to help you manage your medications and health conditions
- Regular communication with your physician, and transportation to your physician’s office when needed
Here, you won’t have to worry about what is happening outside. Instead, you will feel comfortable and connected indoors with your friends.
Call the Legend Senior Living residence near you to learn more about our services and amenities, all designed with you in mind.