It is really beginning to feel like winter here at the Inn! Temperatures are falling, and it is important for seniors to remember the following tips to help them stay safe and warm during these cold winter months.
1. Stay Warm. As people age, their sense of touch declines. Many conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, and poor circulation can cause lack of feeling. This puts seniors at risk for hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia:
- Keep your home’s thermostat set at 68 degrees F or above.
- Dress in loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothes for warmth.
- Keep your head covered when you’re outdoors. A large amount of body heat is lost through the head.
- Wear mittens or gloves outdoors.
- Be alert for symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include slurred speech, sluggishness, confusion, and shallow breathing. Frostbite symptoms include gray, white, or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, and a waxy feeling to this skin. If either of these conditions occur, seek emergency help immediately.
2. Dress for Warmth. Don’t let indoor temperatures go too low and dress in layers. When going outside, wear warm socks, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf. In extreme cold, cover all exposed skin, and use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.
3. Protect Your Skin. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and drier and thus more susceptible to tears. To lessen the possibility of the dangers associated with dryness:
- Keep room air moist. Add a humidifier to your heating unit if possible, or purchase a separate humidifier or vaporizer.
- Keep your body moist. Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
- Moisturize your skin with creams or lotions. Use nasal lubricants or petroleum jelly to protect the lining of your nose and prevent nosebleeds.
4. Fight Wintertime Depression. During the winter months, inclement weather can restrict activities and opportunities to mingle with others. Try to socialize as much as possible. If you can’t go out, pick up the phone and call a friend or relative. Try to let as much sunlight in as possible, as this helps in preventing depression as well.
5. Eat a Varied Diet. Because people spend more time indoors, they may eat a smaller variety of foods, which can lead to nutritional deficits. Make sure to consume foods fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, grains, and seafood options like tuna and salmon.
6. Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure your safety by checking the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector and buying an updated one if you need to.
7. Check the Car. Driving during the winter can be hazardous for anyone, but especially for older people who may not drive as often or whose reflexes may not be as quick as they once were. Get your car serviced before wintertime hits, and be sure to have things like the oil, tires, batteries, and wipers checked.
8. Be Prepared for an Emergency. Winter storms can mean power outages and loss of heat, water and telephone services. Inclement weather can mean difficulty going out for necessities. Be prepared by:
- Stocking up on food and fresh water.
- Have an extra supply of medications.
- Keep batteries, candles, flashlights, and extra blankets on hand.
- Make sure you have someone who will check in on you if you live alone to make sure you are faring well during a winter storm.
9. Watch Out for Ice. Snow and ice can make for slippery walking conditions. Even just a very cold day can make your joints more stiff and walking difficult. To lessen the chance of falling in cold weather:
- Stretch before going outside.
- Wear sensible footwear.
- Stick to cleared sidewalks and roads.
- Use assistive devices when necessary.
- Avoid going outside when conditions are poor.
These tips can help you stay safe in the winter months. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one handling all of this on their own, Village Lake Inn may be just the place for them! We take most of these steps for our guests, so they have less to worry about. We also have a generator, so power outages are one less thing they have to worry about. Come by and check us out!