As we age, our ability to regulate our body temperature can decrease, which may sound benign, but can actually cause serious consequences. Your loved one has a higher risk of slipping, falling, and contracting illnesses such as hypothermia. However, that does not mean that life has to stop completely for older adults when it starts to get cold out. Winter can be an amazing time to head out and enjoy the snow and other sights. Here are some tips to help your loved one feel warm and safe this winter.
Crank up the Heat
Increasing the temperature on your thermostat could be expensive, but it is necessary during the colder months. By keeping the house above 68 degrees, your loved ones would be at a lesser risk of contracting illnesses like hypothermia. To keep your house nice and toasty, make sure to close all doors to rooms that are not in use. You should also keep the windows closed as much as possible to prevent any cold drafts from coming in.
Wearing many layers is important during winter. Go for clothes that are made of wool, polyester, or flannel to insulate body heat. If your loved one is planning to head outdoors, make sure that they bundle up. Layering is key, as it will be easier to take a layer off if it gets too hot. Even at home, ensure that your loved one stays warm by wearing socks or even a hat to sleep.
The key to boosting your immune system to stay safe during the winter would be to stay healthy. Your loved one should be getting at least 150 minutes of exercise every week, which can be in the form of low-risk exercises such as yoga or walks. As going outside in the snow may not be a good idea, consider taking your loved one to the gym to walk on the treadmill. They may even try exercises you can do while sitting.
Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork
It is important to have family members on hand if you have loved ones staying alone this winter. Often, illnesses like hypothermia can also show symptoms when it’s too late. Some of the symptoms you should be looking out for include drowsiness, clumsiness, confusion, shallow breathing, slurred speech, weak pulse, and loss of consciousness. Consider checking in with your loved ones every day to ensure that they are safe. You may also keep your number on their speed dial so that you can be easily reached during an emergency. When attempting to stay warm using fires or electric blankets, make sure that they are in a well-ventilated space and make sure that you use a timer to turn it off.
Winter Readiness Kit
Consider making a winter readiness kit for your loved ones so that they are prepared for the winter season. It will be helpful to keep it in an accessible place like in their home or their vehicle. If you need some inspiration, some things you may want to include in your kit are extra clothes, blankets, candles, portable hand warmers, water, and matches.