Avoiding Winters Chill: A Winter Wellness Guide for Seniors


As we head into winter and many areas are buried in a blanket of snow, the challenges that older adults face with the arrival of cold weather become readily apparent. Frigid temperatures, slippery sidewalks, and the start of clue season create safety concerns and health hazards for seniors. But by carefully preparing and planning ahead seniors can ensure their safety, well-being, and comfort throughout the cold, dreary days ahead. A senior living community can be an important part of that plan.

Why Seniors Should Make Health a Winter Priority

The aging population needs to make wellness a priority in the colder months because many aspects of the season have the potential to jeopardize their well-being. Here are a few reasons to make health a priority this season if you are over 50:

More Vulnerable to the Cold: As we age our bodys ability to regulate temperature is affected. This means that older adults are more susceptible to the cold and are more likely to suffer from hypothermia or frostbite in extreme winter conditions.

Compromised Immunity: Our immune systems often become weaker and weaker with age leaving seniors more susceptible to respiratory infections such as the common cold, flu, and Covid-19. The risk of complications from one of these wintertime ailments is also higher.

Risk of Falls: Ice and snow-covered trails and sidewalks increase the risk of falls for seniors. Those with balance or mobility issues are at an even greater risk of a nasty fall when trying to navigate slippery surfaces in winter.

Mental Health and Winter Isolation: The dangers outdoors often mean that seniors spend more time in their homes and less time outside or visiting with friends. This wintertime isolation can harm mental health.

SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder: Shorter days and lack of sunlight in winter months can lead to a condition known as SAD, which is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. Older adults are more prone to developing this condition.

To-Do List for Winter Wellbeing

There are some things seniors can do to prevent these common winter challenges from becoming a problem. Here are some strategies to keep you healthy and safe from the biggest pitfalls of winter.

Dress In Layers: Staying warm is an older adult's top concern in cold weather. Instead of just putting on a heavy coat you should dress in layers. This makes it easy to remove or add layers as needed to help regulate your body temperature. Dont forget a hat, gloves, a scarf, and insulated boots as well when going out, and make sure your coat is well insulated.

Improve Immunity: With the arrival of told cold and flu season, supporting your immune system is a must. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals, staying hydrated by drinking the recommended amount of water daily, and getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night will go a long way toward supporting a stronger immune system. You should also consult your doctor regarding immunizations and supplements.

Avoid Icy Sidewalks: Whenever possible avoid icy sidewalks and paths. Since that is not always possible make sure to invest in slip-resistant boots and keep a walking aid such as a cane or walking stick handy. This will provide you with added stability on slippery surfaces.

Stay Active and Social: It can be tempting to simply stay in when the weather turns nasty, but the lack of activity and social connection fosters a sense of isolation and can contribute to seasonal depression. When you can safely go out, do it. You can socialize and connect with others at senior centers and community events. At Ashbridge Manor we maintain a full calendar of activities and events to help you stay socially active year-round, and our indoor heated pool and fitness center will help you stay physically active despite the weather.

Prioritize Home Safety: Spending more time indoors means you need to make home safety a top priority. Wear slip-resistant slippers rather than putting down rugs (a tripping hazard) to keep your feet warm. Avoid the use of space heaters. Have your heating system checked to ensure it is working properly. Ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have fresh batteries. And keep rooms well-lit to make them easier to navigate.

There are many challenges to maintaining winter wellness for seniors, and moving to a senior living community can help mitigate those challenges by providing the support and resources you need to stay safe, healthy, and active despite winters chill.

At Ashbridge Manor Senior Living we pride ourselves on creating an environment that enables seniors to lead a fulfilling, socially active lifestyle and independent lifestyle. When its time to transition to a senior living facility, contact our professional staff members and we can help make it easy. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special!

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