Exerpt: Winter time exposes seniors to seasonal risks, including the impacts of cold temperature. Here is our advice to take care of your elderly relatives and adopt the right reflexes.
Have the right reflexes to help elderly persons during winter
Is cold the only danger of winter? For seniors, there are other things to worry about… Let’s make a list of the potential risks that come with winter for seniors.
How seniors feel the cold
With age, people tend to have less sensitivity to cold and heat. It means that a senior may not feel the cold in his/her environment!
The result being an increase in flu or cold contaminations and even more serious conditions like frostbites and hypothermia… Make sure that the senior is always wearing enough layers of clothes when he/she goes out in the cold: be aware that outdoors, extremities (head, hands and feet) should be extra-protected. Indoors, make sure that you always have a jumper, a cardigan or a blanket within reach in case the person starts shivering.
Heating and overheating!
Since they don’t feel the cold as accurately as you do, seniors are often tempted to overheat their homes. Which is not a good idea!
There is one simple rule to follow: do not heat over 21°C. The ideal temperature for a “living” room is 20°C, and 19°C for a bedroom. Cranking up the heat may favor dehydration (particularly since seniors also have difficulties managing their thirst) or intoxication caused by a faulty installation. Make sure to ventilate every room at least a few minutes every day.
Beware of medication
Certain treatments impact blood pressure and can provoke significant vasoconstriction. As a consequence, it is harder for your body to fight the cold! This includes neuroleptics or hypertension and thyroid treatments. Make a quick stop at the doctor’s office to get his/her opinion.
Going out or staying in?
When it’s cold and grey outside, it is tempting to stay in the coziness of your home… Of course, a fragile person should stay in when the temperature is very low. Wind, snow, or ice can be dangerous and lead to falls. However, it is important for seniors to enjoy the outdoors every now and then, especially for their health and mood. Convince your relative to get out of the house whenever the sun is out: a quick walk is the best way to get some light, fresh air and recharge the batteries!
Tweet: About 900,000 seniors over 60 are isolated from their family and friends.
Choose the right diet
On the menu: vitamins to “juice up” (fresh vegetable soup, fresh or mixed fruits…), slow burning carbs for the energy (pasta, rice), and in general, slightly bigger servings than usual: it takes more calories for your body to maintain its temperature when it is cold.
Winter can be tough on seniors. But you can avoid isolation, sickness and depression: make sure that the senior gets visits and calls from his/her close relatives. You can also consider using a Weenect Senior GPS tracker: it allows the senior to keep outdoor activities safe and to call his/her relatives for help whenever there is trouble. Fight through winter with peace of mind!