The first months of the year can bring about some of the most dangerous weather of the year, particularly for senior adults. The drastic decrease in temperature in addition to increased precipitation leads to slippery sidewalks and dangerously cold temperatures! Keep yourself or your loved one safe by remembering the six D’s of cold weather harm prevention.
1. Debilitating Slips
One of the most prominent cold-weather injuries for seniors occurs when a misplaced step leads to a debilitating slip on the icy sidewalk or driveway. Slipping on the pavement can be increased during activities such as getting the mail, shoveling the driveway, feeding the birds, or walking to your car. Be aware when doing any activity outside of your home after a snow or freeze! Prevent slips by wearing proper footwear (boots or other shoes whose soles with lots of grip), clearing the sidewalk or driveway, using handrails, and avoiding leaving your home in dangerous conditions!
During the dreary winter months, many seniors experience a season depression termed seasonal affective disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. [Read more at https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder] It’s important to stay involved with social activities during the winter to help combat many of these symptoms, for more information please check out Brighter Living Adult Day Care Center!
3. Dehydration & Vitamin D Deficiency
Most people don’t realize how proper nutrition affects their health in the winter months! In the winter we often neglect hydration, but the cold air can dry out our skin and lead to physiological dehydration. Be sure to drink lots of water!
In the summer months, we get plenty of Vitamin D from the sun, but often in the winter months we unintentionally avoid the sun by hunkering indoors. Eat plenty of foods rich in Vitamin D, such as orange juice, eggs, and fish.
Driving is dangerous for anyone during wintry weather. Be sure to stay off the roads during dangerous conditions! If you are driving in the winter weather, be sure to have the proper equipment. Be sure your tires are fully inflated, only drive a vehicle with 4 wheel drive, stock your vehicle with extra blankets, and consider obtaining a roadside assistance membership.
5. Dressing warm
This sounds like an obvious safety tip, but caregivers often forget that the metabolism of senior adults has slowed and often body fat has decreased, so seniors have a much lower body heat than a younger adult. Be sure to dress in layers and keep a warm blanket handy! Items like hats, gloves, and wool socks are important in keeping areas of low blood circulation warm.
The first couple months of the year are plagued by viral infections. The flu, common cold, and respiratory diseases are common in the coldest months of the year. Many seniors are hospitalized with pneumonia during this season. Complete prevention of viral infection is almost impossible, but there are ways to increase prevention. This includes washing your hands! This is the most effective way to remove grime and germs from the oils of your hands. Keep your hands away from your face, even after you have washed your hands. Refrain from sharing personal hygiene items such as towels, handkerchiefs, and razors.
We hope that you can use these preventative and safety measures to stay safe during the winter months!
At Alma Health, we have certified and winter-trained staff whose priority is to keep you or your loved one safe during the dangerous winter and early spring months! See a full list of our staff at http://www.almahealth.com/about/staff/