The winter months are here—with cold temperatures, dry air, snow and ice. Although we love the sight of fresh snow, it’s important that your senior loved ones are safe and well-prepared in case a pretty winter snowfall turns into a severe storm. (Important safety tip: give the kid down the street ten bucks to shovel for you!) The colder weather can also have negative effects on our minds and bodies, if we don’t stick to good wellness habits throughout the season. Luckily, the team at Aging Gracefully has put together some tips to help seniors stay safe and well this season.
- Home safety. If mom and dad are still residing in their own home, It’s important to make sure someone is nearby to shovel and salt their outdoor steps, walkways and driveway. The last thing your senior parents should have to worry about is getting hurt while shoveling the snow. Seniors should also wear closed comfortable shoes or boots with rubber soles in icy weather. If they use a cane or walker, double check that the rubber tips are in good condition, so they don’t lose grip on slick surfaces.
- Bundle up. Seniors are less able to regulate their body temperature, putting them at increased risk of hypothermia in cold weather. Older adults should keep the thermostat set at a comfortable temperature, avoid sudden exertion, and wear layered clothing outdoors to retain body heat. They should also wear a hat or head scarf to keep their hands and feet warm, and protect their ears against the harsh winter chill.
- Stay hydrated. The cold air and indoor heaters can cause dehydration, if you’re not careful. So encourage your senior family member to drink plenty of water and use moisturizers to avoid itchy winter skin. Bonus tip: Indoor plants give off moisture and oxygen, and the colors brighten can up a dull, winter’s day.
- Eat well. Comfort foods feel good in the moment, but lack quality nutrition. Seniors should include fruits, vegetables and whole grains to maintain optimal nutrition and well-being. (They may also help with digestion and may lower cholesterol and blood sugar.) Older adults should also limit unhealthy fats, sodium and added sugars.
- Exercise. Daily exercise helps keep your body strong and your mind positive. Seniors especially should try to get fresh air and sunshine, even on cold days, as sunlight provides Vitamin D which aids in strengthening bones. Fitness classes are also a great way to help stretch, tone and strengthen muscles, promote relaxation, and improve coordination and cardiac health; better coordination and balance enhance wintertime safety by helping to prevent falls.
- Stay connected. Although face-to-face check-ins may be tough during a pandemic, it’s important that seniors have someone to check in periodically (even if it’s through Zoom!). An essential benefit of living in a senior/retirement community is that one always has neighbors and a staff to provide immediate care.
Active Senior Living in Whippany, NJ
Lester Senior Living is part of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation, a collection of senior living communities in New Jersey that help support and engage an active lifestyle for seniors.
During the current health crisis, JCHC is not only working hard to keep your loved ones safe and healthy, they’re also doing all they can to keep families connected during the winter season. If you’d like to find out more about their senior activities and care services in Morris County, NJ, visit their website to learn more about community life at Lester Senior Living: https://jchcorp.org/lester-senior-living-morris-county/
Original content published: https://jchcorp.org/winter-wellness-safety-tips-for-seniors/