How Can Seniors Deal with Common Winter Problems?
During the winter, seniors may be at a higher risk of illness or injury. As the temperatures drop, the chances of weather-related conditions such as influenza and hypothermia increase. Taking extra precautions during winter can help prevent injuries and illnesses, ensuring you stay safe. Learn more about common winter problems older adults may face so you can be prepared.
With icy conditions and colder temperatures, you are more likely to get injured while outside. Listed below are a few hazards that you need to be careful of:
Frostbite and Hypothermia
Hypothermia occurs when your body temperatures get too low. The warning signs include lack of energy, cold and pale skin, weakness, difficulty walking and slowed heart rate.
Frostbite happens when the cold weather damages the skin. It typically affects body parts such as the ears, nose, chin, cheeks, toes, and fingers. A few of the warning signs are ashy, white, or grayish-yellow skin and numbness.
Do your best to dress warmly and cover any exposed body parts with the proper winter wear. If possible, avoid venturing outdoors in the cold. The specialists in our skilled nursing facility advise you to get medical help immediately if you think you are experiencing frostbite or hypothermia.
Ice and snow combined with shorter days can make parking lots and walkways unsafe, significantly increasing the chances of falls. Try the following to avoid falls if you have to go outside during winter:
- Venture out only during daylight hours
- Clear snow and ice buildup from walkways, steps, and driveways
- Wear shoes or boots with non-skid soles
- If you use a cane, remember to place a specialized ice or rubber tip on the end
Even inside your home, you may face the following risks during cold, winter months:
The chances of housefires increase during the colder months because of the increased use of heaters and fireplaces. Here are a few tips to keep your place safe:
- Do not leave the fireplace unattended
- Test smoke alarms regularly
- Install a door or screen in front of the fireplace to prevent burning ash and rogue flames
- Place heaters away from furniture and in an open area
- Make sure fireplaces and heaters turned off when not in use
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The instances of carbon monoxide poisoning rise in the winter due to fireplaces and fuel-powered heaters. A few warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are weakness and dizziness, a dull headache, breathlessness, blurred eyesight, and loss of consciousness. If you have any of these symptoms, it is essential to get emergency care immediately. Regular upkeep of heating sources and proper ventilation can help reduce carbon monoxide levels inside your home.
Illness is more common during the winter months because people tend to stay indoors and in close contact with others. According to our nursing home experts, even common illnesses can affect older adults more severely, which is why you should be careful of the following:
The flu can be fatal if you have a weakened immune system. When you experience symptoms, including a sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and coughing accompanied by body aches, chills, fever, weakness, or headache, consult a doctor as soon as possible.
You may not feel as thirsty during the winter. However, you can dehydrate quickly when you’re older, increasing the risk of complications. Stay hydrated by drinking at least 4 to 5 glasses of water every day.
Since there is less humidity in the air during winter, dry skin is quite common. It helps to use lotions and protective creams after bathing to alleviate itching.
A drop in temperature tends to increase blood pressure, raising the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Engaging in physical activities such as yoga, walking, and jogging can help you. However, be sure to avoid going out early in the morning or late at night when it’s colder.
If you have arthritis, you need to be careful during winter because the condition often worsens due to the cold weather. This increases the possibility of falls and accidents at home or outside. Be cautious when walking and wear proper shoes to avoid tripping.
The coldness and darkness that accompany the winter months can lead to depression or make an existing condition worse. If you find yourself affected by the change in season, speak with your doctor to see what options you have. You can also try purchasing a light therapy lamp to simulate the sunlight you’re missing by staying indoors. Be sure to find enjoyable ways to keep yourself active and occupied to keep your spirits high and reduce feelings of isolation.
Also Read: Mental Health Guide for Seniors to Get Proper Care
Our Skilled Nursing Facility is Equipped to Offer the Best Care
The Holiday Retirement has a top-notch skilled nursing facility and nursing homes in Rhode Island. Whether you want a short-term stay to recover from your illness or injury or a place for long-term, post-surgery rehabilitation, we can help you. Our professional and friendly staff will cater to your needs and ensure you are safe, comfortable, and stress-free.
You can book a tour of our nursing home near Woonsocket by filling out our online form to learn more about us. You may also call us at 1-401-765-1440 if you need advice from the experts about winter care for seniors.