Brrrr. During winter, keep warm, keep social, keep healthy, stay safe!

As the temperatures drop outside, make sure the temperatures rise inside, especially if senior adults are a part of your household.

As we age, we produce less body heat. And if there’s a medical condition, you can feel even chillier. But cold weather can also bring about isolation and conditions that lead to falls. Here are some tips to keep your loved ones safe, happy, and healthy during the winter:

  1. Bundle up. Even chilly conditions indoors can rapidly cause hypothermia in a fragile senior adult. So, nudge the thermostat up a little higher and encourage seniors to don a few additional loose layers of clothing. Set your thermostat to at least 68–70°F. And at night, add extra blankets at bedtime.
  2. Eat well. Food gives us energy, and energy and body fat are what we need to help keep us warm. Make sure your loved one is getting enough nutritious food every day. During the dark, cold winter months, it’s easy for seniors to suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. So, foods like salmon, eggs, milk and mushrooms should be on the menu. And oh, curb alcoholic content as alcoholic drinks can lead to loss of body heat.
  3. If your loved one can’t leave the house because of inclement weather, have food delivered either by a neighbor or the local grocery store. The same goes for medications. Check with your local pharmacy about delivery options.
  4. If space heaters are in the household, be sure they are safe. Check the following for more information: Reducing Fire Hazards for Portable Electric Heaters and Seven Highly Effective Portable Heater Safety Habits.
  5. Be social. Try to spend more time with senior adults during winter months, when they tend to be more confined. Do an art project together, or go through photo albums, listen to music, and check out online games. See if there are local programs to engage them in activity. There’s nothing like a friendly face to warm the spirit and keep those spirits high.
  6. Be sure inoculations and medications are up to date. If a senior adult has to get to a medical appointment that cannot be handled via telehealth, check your options and arrange for safe transportation. There are public and private services, as well as nonprofit organizations that provide free and low-cost transportation for senior adults.
  7. Hire someone to shovel the front walk. Lifting heavy snow and ice can be dangerous to one’s health. And slippery surfaces can lead to falls.

At the Nathaniel Witherell, we help provide senior adults with a higher quality of life, while also offering respite and peace of mind for a family caregiver who might need some support. We provide physical activity; delicious and nutritious meals; social engagement; and our recreational programs stimulate the mind. Our goal is to empower our residents and help them live active and enriched lives.

For further information about the Witherell and its services, and to speak to someone directly, please call George Cossifos, Director of Admissions at 203-618-4232 or Nicole Roselle-Smith, Admissions representative, at 203-618-4314. You can also email admissions@witherell.org for information.

 

 

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