Senior Health: 7 Winter Safety Tips
While the winter months are a wonderful time for cozying up inside with good books, favorite movies, crafts, indoor projects and cuddle time with our treasured pets, they can also be a challenging time for managing health. Winter blues, icy road and sidewalk conditions, freezing temperatures and dangerous driving conditions can make it hard to stay active and feel your best.
Plan ahead to prevent health problems and possible injury, by focusing on your overall health and safety. Knowing what to expect as the weather turns cold will help you to stay prepared, and make healthy choices that will carry you through the season with energy and vitality you deserve.
Here are 7 winter safety tips to help you combat winter depression, keep your diet on track, avoid icy conditions and drive safely. Feel your best all year long, and make the most of this new season!
When freezing rain and dramatically cold temperatures hit our area, it brings with it icy sidewalks, roads and parking lots. After a snow or ice storm, stay inside and wait for all roads and sidewalks to be cleared to prevent dangerous falls that can be hard to recover from. When you do venture out, wear shoes with good traction that won't skid, and when you come back inside, remove shoes immediately to prevent ice from melting and slipping indoors.
Even if you don't mind cold weather, when temperatures dip below freezing, hypothermia and frostbite become a problem, especially for those over the age of 65. Dress in warm layers, and make sure to wear a heavy coat, thick socks, warm gloves, a hat and a scarf. When indoors, make sure to keep your thermostat set at a comfortable temperature that will keep you warm, and if you prefer to keep your thermostat turned down, dress in warm clothes to keep your body temperature stable.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
In winter, when the days grow shorter and the weather grows colder, it can be easy to turn to foods that are high in fat and sodium for comfort. In fact, during these cold and darker months, you need a healthy diet more than ever to help boost your immune system, support your mood and keep your sleep and digestive system on track. Turn to homemade soups with fresh vegetables and homemade chicken stock to keep you warm. Roast seasonal vegetables and fruits to snack on or eat alongside your main course at dinner.
Check Your Car
Driving conditions in winter can turn dangerous, and when in doubt, we recommend staying home. Since you will have to drive at some point during the winter months, it's a good idea to get your car serviced in advance by having the oil changed, wipers replaced and tires and battery checked. Knowing that your car is in tip top shape will give you peace of mind when you do venture out, and will keep you safe on winterized oads.
When in doubt, stay inside. Winter weather conditions are nothing to joke about, and for senior citizens, falls on ice, hypothermia or frostbite can cause major health problems and complications. If tempertures become too cold, or ice, snow or freezing rain are in the forecast, stock up on what you need, and cozy up indoors until conditions improve. Catch up on your reading, gather with neighbors with games and crafts or work on organizing closets and storage spaces in your home. Your health will thank you!
When you can't get out and walk your neighborhood, it can become difficult finding ways to stay active and mobile. Take advantage of your community's fitness room, or choose to do light housework to get up and keep your blood flowing. Put on music and move comfortably through your home while you run your vacuum or wipe down surfaces. Even some activity is better than none, and it'll keep your joints healthy for spring and summer.
Watch for Winter Blues
For many people, the winter months can trigger seasonal depression or anxiety that can be hard to combat on your own. Watch your mood and energy level for signs of the winter blues, and if you feel a change in your mood, temperament or appetite, ask for help. Don't be afraid to reach out to a family member, neighbor or trusted friend for support, and always consult a doctor.
Filed Under: Life at Silver Hill
Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA.
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