Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

Mid-January usually ushers in the real start of winter and it is important to keep safety tips in mind, especially for those who have reached the age of being called a “senior.”

Obviously, it is important to be careful of falling on icy surfaces, which can often cause major injuries such as hip and wrist fractures. You’ll want to be sure to replace a worn cane tip and attach an ice-grip attachment to the end of the cane if your loved one routinely walks outdoors in inclement weather. Non-skid soles on winter boots are a necessity, but you may also want to consider the following winter health and safety tips:

 

  1. Dress in layers to avoid allowing body temperature to drop below 95 degrees, which can cause hypothermia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of hypothermia-related deaths were of people over the age of 65. Dress in layers. Wear warm socks, sweater, a heavy coat, warm hat, gloves and a scarf to cover the mouth and protect the lungs.
  2. Be sure to remove winter boots immediately upon entering the indoors, as wet soles and/or wet floors can lead to slipping. Change to non-slip soled slippers or shoes and place wet boots in a plastic bag.
  3. Be certain to get enough nutrition during winter. Lack of exposure to sunlight contributes to Vitamin D deficiency, which can cause health problems. Foods such as milk, grains, tuna, and salmon, should be part of the diet, especially this time of year. Ask your family physician if there are any supplements that should be taken to strengthen bones or to ensure proper nutrition during this time. It is also important to stay hydrated during the winter. Water keeps body fluids balanced and skin healthy. It gives you energy, helping to prevent daytime fatigue and sluggishness – an issue for many during the dark, dreary winter months.
  4. As it can be more difficult (and dangerous) to get around during winter, seniors have less contact with others, which can bring about feelings of loneliness and isolation. Seasonal depression is very real and it is especially important to check in on your senior loved ones as often as possible. A short, daily phone call can make a big difference. You can also arrange for a check-in system with friends and relatives so that someone visits or phones a few times a week. Technology can help with social media channels like Facebook and video chat, such as FaceTime and Skype, to keep in touch even when you are miles apart.
  5. If your loved one hasn’t gotten a flu shot yet, be sure to arrange for one right away. Seniors are at high risk for complications from the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that seniors account for 80-90% of seasonal flu-related deaths and 50-70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations. The flu shot is the best way to avoid these health issues.

 

Let Us Help

If you have questions regarding these or other concerns about assisted living communities in the Aurum Network, call us at 978-282-9551 or contact us. To locate a community within the Aurum Network, use our senior living facility locator tool.

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