No matter what age you are, winter can be tough on the body. This is especially true for seniors. As we age, our bodies become less resistant to cold weather. Every year, a number of elderly individuals succumb to the effects of hypothermia, pneumonia, flu, falls and other health risks.
In order to protect the health of your aging family members and loved ones this season, keep the following winter health tips for seniors in mind:
As we age, our digestive systems and metabolisms naturally slow down. The cold weather can further decrease our bodies’ ability to process food. We also tend to eat more, especially around the holidays. In order to stay healthy all winter long, it’s best to stay clear of foods that produce gas and indigestion and, more importantly, avoid overeating. As always, it’s also important to remain hydrated by drinking at least four or five glasses of water per day.
We all have a tendency to “hibernate” a little when the temperature drops. We huddle under blankets, turn up the thermostat and avoid going outdoors. Therefore, while it’s important for seniors to avoid slippery outdoor conditions and strenuous activities like shoveling snow, preserving physical health during the winter months depends on maintaining a regular indoor exercise regimen.
Since low temperatures can further compromise the already reduced effectiveness of aging immune systems, it’s highly recommended that seniors receive annual flu vaccinations. The flu season runs from October through March and, depending on the severity of the strain, the illness can prove fatal for older adults. In addition, seniors should ask their doctors about Pneumovax to help protect against pneumonia.
Stay tuned to the Griswold Blog or check back later in the week when we will discuss some tips for safeguarding seniors’ homes against the cold.
Have you or a loved one used the above winter health tips before, or do you have some of your own that we haven’t included? Please tell us in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!