Winter is Coming: How Seniors Can Prepare Ahead of Time

Autumn has arrived and we’re enjoying the cooler temperatures, the changing leaves, and the festive feeling in the air. While many of us look forward to the colder months, along with winter comes cold and flu season, slippery sidewalks, and freezing temperatures.

For seniors especially, the winter season can be bothersome if they are unprepared. At United Methodist Communities, we recommend taking as many precautionary measures as possible to prepare for the challenges that come with the winter season. Some of these measures include:

Getting up to date with immunizations. Vaccines are an essential healthcare measure, especially as we age. Older adults are susceptible to the flu, pneumonia, and other illnesses and sometimes it can be difficult and time-consuming for seniors to recover. It’s important for seniors to speak with their primary care physician to ensure immunizations are up to date. 

Spending some time outside in the sunlight. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs as a result of reduced exposure to natural daylight. SAD is commonly reported in winter due to the gray, overcast days we sometimes experience during this season. That’s why it is important to take advantage of sunny weather and spend as much quality time outside as possible.

Making sure screenings are up to date. Being proactive and having routine screenings done now means seniors won’t need to leave the house for  doctor’s appointments on  cold, snowy days. Every primary care physician has a set of screenings recommended for people in this age group, including cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, several cancers, vision and eyesight. Going into winter with a clean bill of health will be a huge sigh of relief for anyone.

Senior Health During The Colder Months 

Staying physically and mentally healthy during winter can be a challenge, especially for older adults. In addition to the preventative measures above, there are other strategies seniors can adopt to be as safe as possible this winter season:

  • Stock up on the necessities. This includes food, water, any medications, toiletries, and cleaning supplies, used on a regular basis. If the weather conditions are too dangerous for driving, they’ll have everything they need to tide them over until the harsh weather clears up.
  • Keep an extra pair of gloves, a scarf, and a hat in the car. If driving isn’t an option, keep an extra set of everything in a handbag because they may be needed when popping out for a short errand. It’s better to be a little too warm than too cold.
  • Stay mentally and physically active. Winter can be difficult on our mental health and it’s tempting to stay curled up by the fireplace, but it’s essential to engage the mind and body by staying active. Playing board games, card games, puzzles, and crosswords will help the mind stay sharp. Physical activity can be a bit more difficult during winter, but even some light, daily stretching will be hugely beneficial.

Staying mentally and physically active is especially important for seniors in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC). At UMC at Bristol Glen, we understand that the winter season takes a toll on our minds and our bodies, which is why we have dedicated programs that keep our residents active during the colder months. 

For more information about our Bristol Glen community, or if you have any questions about senior health, please contact United Methodist Communities today.