5 Vital Winter Safety Tips for the Elderly
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5 Vital Winter Safety Tips for Elderly Parents and Loved Ones

‘Tis the season to be jolly. The winter season is a time of festivities, skiing and family time. It’s also notable for low temperatures and windy weather, which pose health risks to our elderly parents and loved ones.

Mitigating winter risks is important in helping older loved ones breeze through these cold months while staying healthy and happy. 

Winter Weather Tips for Seniors

  1.  Stay warm

Ensure a senior’s home is heated to a comfortable temperature, especially in the living rooms and bedrooms. Blankets and warm clothing offer an added layer of protection to maintain a healthy body temperature.

If there are technical problems with the heating system, help your loved one by hiring the appropriate certified professionals to fix the issues. If there are no problems, consider a system check-up which could prevent a breakdown. Most electric and gas companies have assistance programs if affording utilities is a challenge.

  1. Be careful when outside

If the pavements outside of your home are icy or filled with snow, please ensure someone plows away snow and applies grit to prevent slippery surfaces. Having salt ready, and spreading it before anticipated poor weather, can allow for safe passage on walkways.  Also, make sure you are wearing sturdy footwear that is appropriate for winter conditions.

If possible, install handrails for steps and other problematic outdoor areas. Handrails are helpful year-round, so they make a great investment!

  1. Be mindful of mental health

You can’t underestimate the importance of social interactions in maintaining strong emotional and mental health. Make sure to spend time with senior parents and relatives either in person, on the phone or via an online video call.

  1. Be mindful of physical movement

Get moving, however much possible. Elderly people should avoid sitting still for hours at a time. You can encourage them to stay mobile through low-intensity activities like walking. Even a 10-15 minute walk around the block each day can do wonders for their energy, strength and mood. 

If wintery weather or physical  capabilities prevent them from going outside, having options for indoor activity is key. Chair yoga is a gentle way to warm up muscles and fend off stiffness. Check out 5 Chair Yoga DVDs developed for seniors

Range of motion activities is a medical term for exercises that help you move around. Every person should be doing some type of moving around several times a day. This is no different if you’re fully able-bodied, differently abled, or completely dependent on another person. You can find great lists of exercises here and here.

  1. Eat well and maintain a balanced diet

During the winter months, it’s likely that older relatives will spend more time in the home with fewer opportunities to get to the grocery store. And with the holiday season and festivities, it may be difficult to stick to a solid eating routine.

A well-stocked pantry and freezer can help, but keep nutrition in mind when making selections! Read labels on canned goods and store bought meals for sodium content and added preservatives. Strive for little or no sodium staples. When possible, home cooked soups and meals are always the best option for stocking a freezer. 

Keep moving forward with these steps and enjoy a wonderful winter!

Here’s to life to the fullest,
Tiffany Rubin, Governing Board Member

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