Cold Weather Tips for Older Adults

Cold Weather Tips for Older Adults

November 15, 2023 | Health

Cold Weather Tips for Older Adults

As the chill of winter starts to set in, inclement weather, frigid temperatures, and having to spend more time indoors aren’t always ideal. Especially for older adults, it’s essential to pay more attention to how the winter months can affect them.

Older adults tend to be more susceptive to the harsh effects of the cold weather. With age, it becomes more difficult to generate body heat, and lower temperatures can make preexisting health conditions more challenging. Freezing and icy conditions can also pose a threat to accidents and falls.

There are plenty of ways to manage the cold and avoid these mishaps to keep your loved ones safe and sound. Ensure that your loved one stays active, healthy, and comfortable throughout the winter months by taking note of these essential cold weather tips: 

1. Layer Up

If you have to venture, outdoors make sure you and your loved one are bundled up. Wearing a few layers when you’re out in the cold is like having a cozy barrier that keeps warm air close to your body. Rather than stuffing into one thick layer, try multiple thinner ones. Don’t forget a hat, scarf, and gloves!

2. Keep The Heat Inside

As it comes time for the temperatures to drop, make sure that your heat is working efficiently. It’s always important for your loved one to have a comfortable and warm environment. Around 68 to 70 degrees should be the perfect comfortable temperature. Keep extra blankets around for added warmth, too.

3. Be Prepared

Even if your loved one resides in a community where healthcare providers are readily available, it’s still important to make sure they have an emergency kit on hand. Because this kit will be tailored around cold weather conditions, you can include things like blankets, flashlights, non-perishable foods, and important phone numbers. Having these items available can bring a sense of comfort to your loved ones in knowing that they are prepared.

4. Regular Movement

Encourage regular physical activity to keep your blood flowing. Simple exercises such as taking a walk around the house or lifting small weights can better your body’s circulation which keeps you warm. 

5. Stay Hydrated

Don’t be mistaken – staying hydrated isn’t only important to beat the heat. Hydration can also reduce vulnerability to the cold as your body is more sensitive to the temperature. Dry skin is one of the most common symptoms and nobody enjoys chapped lips. Try out warm beverages like tea or soup that are not only cozy but a delightful treat in the winter season.  

6. Nutrition Is Key

Cold temperatures can cause us to have lower energy levels. Maintaining a well-balanced winter diet that includes nourishing and warm foods makes for a steady supply of energy that helps us stay warm. 

7. Symptoms of Hypothermia

Do you notice your older adult shivering, experiencing confusion, or feeling drowsy? When the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, it may be a case of hypothermia. Look out for these symptoms and discuss preventive measures, such as dressing warm and staying indoors.

8. Stay Informed

Stay in the know about the weather – it helps you be more proactive when inclement weather heads your way. Being aware of the latest weather forecast makes a significant difference in facing extreme weather conditions with confidence and safety. 

9. Travel With Caution

If you find yourself having to go out in the cold, make sure you have a dependable ride that can handle differing weather conditions. Sometimes it’s better to sit some things out for safety purposes. If it’s a medical emergency, reach out to a healthcare provider or local first responder immediately.

10. Regular Check-Ins

Remember to check up on your loved ones throughout the winter months. Their safety matters, and so does their mental well-being. Winter can bring Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to less daylight, which has a direct impact on our moods. The sun is responsible for making us feel happy and calm, and without it, anxiety and depression can arise. Regular check-ins not only reassure both of your safety, but it adds a bright spot to their day. 

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