Winter can be a beautiful, picturesque time of year: Sitting by the fireplace drinking a mug of warm tea or hot chocolate while enjoying a good novel as the snow falls softly outside makes for an enjoyable afternoon. However, the season can also bring several health and safety hazards. This winter, be prepared by taking precautions and following these tips:
One of the biggest concerns, especially for seniors, during the winter is slipping and falling in wet or icy conditions. As Dr. Stanley Wang, a physician at Stanford Hospital in California, explained to Care.com, falls happen quite frequently among the older population, especially in winter conditions. Though younger people may bounce back quickly from a fall, seniors often face longer recovery and the potential for complications.
To avoid falls, it is best to invest in durable boots with non-skid soles that have traction, noted the source. For those who use a cane, get a new rubber tip before the winter season so that instead of being worn down, it will have better traction. Avoid sidewalks and stairs that look wet or icy and stick to salted walkways. Once inside, remove wet shoes to avoid slipping.
Older adults are more likely to experience hypothermia or frostbite and as such, must take extra precautions when the temperatures begin to drop, explained online resource HealthinAging of the American Geriatrics Society's Health in Aging Foundation. Signs of hypothermia include slowed breathing, a drop in heart rate, feelings of exhaustion and confusion and pale skin that looks ashy.
To prevent hypothermia, stay indoors when possible and limit time outside to short periods. When going outside, cover all extremities and bundle in layers. Stay dry and remove clothing that becomes wet as soon as you get back indoors, to avoid chills. Indoor temperatures should be kept at 65 degrees or warmer.
Depression impacts everyone differently but it is easy to feel more lonely, sad or disheartened during the cold, bleak days of winter. According to Care.com, seniors often have less interaction during the winter season. As such, it's a great idea to organize events, games, lectures and clubs at long-term care centers. Encouraging seniors to take part, pick up new hobbies or spend time doing what they enjoy most can help keep spirits up.