While winter weather can present obstacles for anyone, seniors are even more at risk when it comes to the dangers of colder temperatures. For those living in an assisted living center, winter hazards often increase the chance of illness or injury. For both seniors and the caregivers providing senior care services to the elderly, the season can be one of stress and anxiety. By staying vigilant and following a few simple steps, winter weather hazards can be successfully avoided.
As seniors age, feeling in their hands and feet may decrease. This, combined with factors, such as arthritis, poor circulation, diabetes or other complications, can affect balance and put them at risk for a slip or fall. Recovering from such an injury can take weeks or even months so it’s important to avoid any potential hazard that could result in a fall. If the ground is covered in ice or snow, it’s best to stay inside. If you must venture outside, stick to cleared walkways and paths and always wear non-skid shoes for added traction in icy conditions.
With dropping temperatures, hypothermia and frostbite are concerns for those braving the winter weather. Before heading outside, dress in multiple layers to ward off the chill. A heavy coat, warm socks, gloves and a hat are key components for trapping in body heat. Look for breathable fabrics that are still capable of providing warmth, such as fleece and polyester/wool blends.
Driving in hazardous winter conditions can be dangerous at any age so it’s best to stay off the road when weather is rough. Seniors often have slower reflexes when driving, making treacherous weather even more difficult to navigate. Many senior care services provide transportation for their residents, such as shuttle services and other delivery options, offering an alternative for when traveling is a must.
Not only is maintaining a balanced diet crucial throughout the year, it is especially important for seniors during winter months. Because we are exposed to less sunlight in the winter, many develop a vitamin D deficiency, as well as other nutritional deficits. This can lead to ongoing health problems. To keep yourself healthy, eat foods rich in vitamin D and other vitamins, such as dairy and seafood.
The winter season is also flu season so it’s important to take preventive measures to ward off illness because seniors are more prone to complications from the flu. Keep your immune system strong by eating well and drinking plenty of fluids. Wash your hands often and avoid others who are sick. It’s also crucial to get your flu shot early because it plays a critical role in defending against illness.
If you are in the market for an affordable assisted living center, contact us. The staff at Village at Oakwood senior living in Oklahoma City is caring and compassionate, providing residents with a safe and healthy environment.