9 Winter Health Tips for Seniors

Winter is fast approaching. The cold temperatures associated with this time of year can pose several risks to a senior’s health. While there’s no way to stop the seasons from the changing, thre are ways to seniors to stay healthy during the winter. Here are nine winter health tips that all seniors should follow.

#1) Bundle Up in Layers

Wearing multiple layers of clothing can help seniors stay warm and comfortable during the winter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over half of all hpothermia deaths involve seniors. With multiple layers of clothing, seniors will be better protected against hypothermia.

#2) Maintain Fire and CO Detectors

Seniors should maintain functional fire and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their home or living space. Rates of fire- and CO-related injuries and illnesses are more common during the winter than all other seasons. When the temperatures begin to drop, seniors will often rely on their furnace to stay warm. Furnaces, of course, can cause fires or release CO if they are defective.

Fire and CO detectors will alert seniors to the presence of a fire or CO, respectively. Of course, these otherwise essential safety devices only work if they have a charged battery. When a fire or CO detector’s battery dies, it will no longer trigger an alarm. Therefore, seniors should test their fire and CO detectors to ensure they function properly.

#3) Stay Physically Active

Physical activity levels among seniors tends to decrease during the winter. The cold temperatures can discourage seniors from taking walks and performing other physical activities outdoors. When a senior’s physical activity levels decrease, though, his or her risk of chronic health conditions like heart disease may increase. As a result, seniors should make a point to exercise regularly during the winter.

#4) Use Caution When Walking Outside

It’s important for seniors to use caution when walking outside during the winter. Ice can develop on any paved surface. When the temperature outside drops to 32 degrees Fahrneheit or below, moisture and condensation will freeze. It only takes one wrong step on a patch of ice to cause a slip-and-fall injury.

#5) Socialize With Friends and Family

Seniors should maintain contact with friends and family throughout the winter. When winter arrives, many seniors become isolated. They spend more time cooped up inside their homes and less time socializing. Lack of socialization, unfortunately, can lead to a myriad of health problems, which is why it why seniors should keep in touch with friends and family through the winter.

#6) Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating a balanced diet can help seniors stay healthy during the winter. The foods a senior eats will inevitably affect his or her health. While many seniors eat healthy during the spring and summer seasons, their eating habits may change during the winter.

Here are some dieting tips that can improve a senior’s health during the winter:

  • Choose a colorful foods with a focus on a wide variety of fresh vegetables.
  • Limit intake of red meat.
  • Increase intake of fish.
  • Cook using olive oil rather than butter.
  • Avoid all foods containing trans fat.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

#7) Use a Humidifier

Dry skin is a common condition from which seniors suffer during the winter. As the weather gets colder, the air will become drier. Unfortunately, exposure to dry air can cause dry skin as well as other related skin conditions.

Seniors can protect themselves from dry skin during the winter by using a humidifier. Not to be confused with a dehumidifier, a humidifier is a portable device that’s designed to elevate indoor humidity levels. Humidifiers essentially spray a mist vapor into the air, thereby making the air more humid.

#8) Choose Warm and Protective Footwear

In addition to wearing multiple layers of clothing, seniors should choose warm and protective footwear for the winter — especially when venturing outdoors. While frostbite can occur on any part of the body, feet are highly susceptible to this condition. Seniors will lose more heat through their feet than most other parts of their body.

Seniors can protect their feet from frostbite, however, by wearing the right shoes or boots. A pair of insulated and thermal shoes or boots will protect a senior’s feet from the cold winter weather.

#9) Don’t Miss Doctors’ Appointments

Following through with doctors’ appointments can protect seniors from chronic disease and other ailments. During the winter, many seniors cancel or postpone doctors’ appointments. Even if it’s simply a checkup, seniors should stay on top of all their doctors’ appointments. Doctors can catch new ailments that require immediate treatment. If a senior misses an appointment, these ailments may go unnoticed.

If you’re a caregiver to a senior, make sure he or she doesn’t miss any doctors’ appointments. You can set a reminder on the senior’s phone. Alternatively, you can drive him or her to the doctor.

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