Winter weather and frigid temperatures are of serious concern to seniors. Staying warm and healthy during the winter becomes a vital task for seniors, as they are at a higher risk for many additional problems caused by cold air.
There are some basic physical differences making seniors more susceptible to cold weather problems. Seniors have slower metabolisms, keeping their bodies from generating the same amount of heat younger people generate. In addition, a high number of seniors suffer from poor circulation. This keeps their arms, legs, hands and feet from receiving the proper amount of blood flow, making them more prone to frostbite, hypothermia and other cold weather problems. So, how can seniors and their caregivers work toward a safe and healthy winter? The following list of tips and precautions is a great place to start.
- Use electric space heaters in bedrooms or bathrooms for an economical way of heating small rooms.
- Choose daily wardrobe carefully and wisely. Remember to layer clothing, wearing loose-fitting and light garments. Tight clothes and long thermal underwear can cut off blood flow if not fitted properly.
- Use extra blankets on the bed each night. As with clothing, layering blankets is a smart way to trap warmth and keep seniors warm in bed each night.
- Seniors should wear mittens and not gloves. Allowing each finger to touch the others actually creates more warmth. Gloves separate each finger, letting precious heat escape the hands.
- Eat a balanced diet each day. The heat of the body is generated by burning calories. Seniors must eat to have enough calories to burn daily.
- Inspect the rubber tips on all canes and walkers. If these tips are worn, they are undoubtedly slippery on the snow or ice. When the tip of a walking aid becomes slippery, seniors are in constant danger of falling. Replace any tips that look worn.
Taking the time to check on elderly neighbors and family members during winter months can make a huge difference. LivHOME provides many at-home caregiving services for seniors who celebrate their own personal independence. For more information about LivHOME, visit their website at www.LivHOME.com.