Preparing Elders for Colder Weather

As the weather changes for a large majority of the country, cold weather is just a few short months away. Cold rain showers, heavy wet snow, and below freezing temperatures are inconvenient for all of us but these extreme weather conditions can have a major impact on senior citizens. Cold weather can cause major issues for elderly adults including injuries, infections, and inconvenience.

Winter Safety  

Injuries are a major issue that senior citizens face as the months grow colder. Many older people that still live in their homes might go outside and attempt to shovel their sidewalks when the snow starts to fall. Although it might not appear to be, shoveling is a very physical task. It is proven to cause heart and back issues which many seniors already struggle with. If a senior suffers from arthritis pain, shoveling can aggravate that pain as well. Seniors should consider hiring a plow service or asking a trusted neighbor with a snow blower to take care of their driveway.

Fall Risk

It is accurate that falls are something that senior citizens are at risk for all year round. From tripping over a sidewalk to a fold in an area rug, it is easy for seniors to fall at any point which typically can cause injuries from broken bones or a severe sprain. Winter months make trips outside extremely dangerous for seniors and falls increase in the colder months. Sidewalks and driveways are coated with layers of snow and ice which are often difficult to see. If seniors fall outside in the winter, the fall can also be detrimental if frozen snow or ice is underneath the individual when they land. Everyone should put down salt or sand on sidewalks and entrances outside of their home whenever possible in the winter months when it is icy outside.

Seasonal Depression

Many of us also get the “winter blues” but for seniors, those blues can become very serious. Depression often times rises in winter months because the days are dark and cold. For seniors, physical pain can increase in the winter, making all of their symptoms worse which can feel defeating. Many senior citizens also get out less in the winter, making their ability to socialize minimal. Socialization improves mood and in the winter months with social interactions limited, this can also contribute to a poor mental state for seniors. Seniors should do what they can to reach out to loved ones, even if it’s just on the phone. Get outside when possible if the sun peeks out, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Get involved in a group of some sort that does “pick-ups” for different errands trips or outings. There are also many different at-home activities seniors can engage in to help beat seasonal depression.

Here are a few:

  • Puzzles
  • Scrapbooking
  • Playing board games
  • Playing cards
  • Knitting or Crocheting

Winter weather poses as tremendous a challenge for seniors and these topics just skim the surface.  Seniors and their loved ones should take whatever precautions they can to prepare for the winter months to ensure that these issues are managed.

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