When the cold-weather hits, there are new things to think about to help keep seniors safe, healthy, and happy in their homes.
As we all know well, the winters here in Canada can bring about incredibly cold days and nights, and it can be tough to keep warm sometimes. Seniors might experience the cold in an even more severe way because of the age of their bodies and the circumstances that come with the current stage of their lives. Helping seniors to think through the practices, strategies, tools, and reminders that they need to help keep themselves amply warm and cozy through the winter can help put everyone at ease and allow for a calmer, more comfortable few months.
Keeping Warm and Happy
Keeping the body warm and the mind happy involves targeting practices and introducing healthy behaviours and habits into various aspects of life. The following are some basic things to consider to keep safe and warm:
- Dress Appropriately: While the notion of dressing in warmer clothes when the weather is colder is pretty intuitive, the actual practice of picking the clothes that are truly going to keep the body warm in all the right places can require a little thought or planning. Seniors should make sure that they stock their wardrobes at the beginning of the season with thermal under-layers, thick socks, warm fabrics, and proper outerwear. Layering can be incredibly important when the weather is cold, so having all the right things available to throw together into a cozy outfit is important. The extremities also tend to get cold even when the core is warm and toasty, so seniors should always have socks, slippers, mitts, hats, and scarves available.
- Move Enough: Movement helps to keep the body warm, so seniors should make a point of getting up and moving their bodies throughout the day. Even if full-on exercise isn’t a part of the daily routine, just getting up to walk around the house every hour or so or doing activities inside that get the body moving can help to keep things warm from the inside out.
- Eat Well: As is always the case, diet is an important part of tending to the health and comfort of the body. Eating meals filled with warming foods can help to prevent chill on colder days. Fruits and veggies can help to keep up good energy levels so that seniors can get their movement in, and staying hydrated throughout the day can help a lot too. Particularly warming things like soup, stews, teas, and other warm beverages can help fill the stomach with a warm feeling that radiates through the body. Adding foods like ginger to the diet can also help to improve circulation and keep the body warm.
- Tend to the Mind: The conditions of the winter weather and temperature can often make it more challenging for seniors to get out and do the things they enjoy in the warmer months, so making sure there are activities and engagements available at home that keep the mind stimulated is incredibly important for health. It is a great time to try out new hobbies, play games with friends and loved-ones, and try learning new things.
- Stay Engaged: Staying involved socially is important for seniors’ wellbeing, and the winter shouldn’t stop seniors from keeping up with the people and groups that bring them joy. Getting out into the community and taking part in activities and events can help seniors to get social and stay engaged even through the winter. Inviting friends and family over for gatherings, visits, and activities can also be a great way to keep connected. Socialization should always remain a priority, and while there might need to be a few discussions about the logistics and safety in the winter, seniors should never have to give up spending time with the people and activities they enjoy.
- Set Up the Home: Having a home that is properly equipped for the cold-weather is important for seniors’ health and wellbeing. Leading up the onset of the cold-weather, seniors and their caregivers should work together to ensure that the home is functional in terms of its heating system, ventilation, water, and safety measures like the fire-alarm. Seniors should also have warm blankets and bedding around, and should make sure they have proper lighting for the home when the days start to become darker. Doing a check and making sure everything is set up at the beginning of winter can help seniors to feel prepared and more at ease.
The cold-weather months can bring about challenges and things to tend to, but seniors can still enjoy the winter weather and feel comfortable, safe, happy, and warm in their homes.