Many seniors are fortunate enough to spend their winters in Arizona or Florida, but most retirees do not. If you are a senior living in an area that is prone to some harsh winter conditions, preparation is especially encouraged. Hopefully, you can appreciate these tips for staying healthy until the spring thaw occurs.
Keeping Safe is the First Priority
If you are a senior living alone it doesn't mean that you have to "go it alone" during harsh winter conditions. Don't be hesitant to ask neighbors, relatives, children, or grandchildren for help. They will likely be more than willing to assist you. You should arrange for someone to check on you frequently. Salting, shoveling snow, and removing ice can be arduous work. Sidewalks, carports, and streets are dangerous places under those conditions. If there is no one who can help, make sure to take your time when attempting these tasks in order to avoid overexertion. You can always hire someone to help you. Neighborhood teenagers are a good start; they may need some extra money. If this doesn't work try the classified sections of your local newspapers or on bulletin boards at churches, stores, and job placement agencies for possible people to hire. You can also consider a home companion from a licensed home care agency.
Keep Warm and Comfortable
Dressing in layers offers the best protection from any harsh winter climate. Cover all exposed skin including your head, face, ears, hands and feet, (and any other exposed areas). Also keep dry and limit your outdoor exposure. Outer layers and boots that are water resistant are a great help. It's neither practical nor healthy to stay indoors all winter. Inside your home, take care when utilizing fireplaces, stoves, candles, and space heaters as they can ignite fires and fill your house with smoke or carbon monoxide. Make sure to place fresh batteries in carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors before winter weather bores in. Interior heat can be conserved by keeping doors and windows closed to areas you aren't using. Cover windows with draperies and you can also place towels or mats along cracks at the bottom of doors. If you have a fireplace always have plenty of dry wood inside in case conditions deteriorate outside and you can't get out.
Get the Right Nutrition
Keep eating right throughout winter. Do not rely mainly on highly carbonated foods. Prepare vegetable based soups and stews that are reduced in sodium. Warmed sweetened beverages can help you shake off the effects of a cold day and provide your body with required nutrients. Because they decrease the body's ability to retain heat, be sure to limit alcohol and caffeine intake along with cigarette smoking.
Many outdoor activities during this time of year will be limited. However, it is important to try and maintain frequent social contact. Routinely go to church, do volunteer work, and socialize with family and friends. Consider any of the activities that interest you that are posted at senior centers, health centers, and any other locations offering senior services.