Winter might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a quite dangerous time for retirees. As we age, our bodies have a more difficult time defending from sickness and recovering from injury. But you can take preventative measures to be sure that you can spend this winter snuggling up to loved ones, not sniffling in bed.
Cold & Flu – According to Contac Cold and Flu, Cold and flu season spans October to May, with the peak of cases popping up in February. To avoid the aches and pains that come with cold and flu, you should be sure to wash your hands after coming into contact with others and before meals. Keep hand sanitizer handy when there is no soap and water nearby. Getting enough sleep, drinking the recommended amount of water, and reducing stress also help to keep your immune system strong. It is also recommended that you get the flu shot to avoid illness.
Frostbite and Hypothermia – The older we get, the more difficult it is for our bodies to retain body heat, which means that senior citizens run a higher risk of suffering from frostbite and hypothermia. To reduce your risk, be sure to cover as much skin as possible when you leave the house and to be on the lookout for signs of danger. According to the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging, these symptoms include shivering, pale or ashy skin, a feeling of sleepiness, confusion, slowed heart rate, or trouble walking.
Heartburn – Ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes… the food around the holidays is exceptionally good, but not always so good for you. Bigger meals can lead to heartburn that is less than merry, so you should try to take a preventative heartburn medication and eat slowly and in moderation to avoid paying for your meal later.
Dry Skin – Dry, itchy skin can make winter uncomfortable. To go from scratchy to smooth, be sure to moisturize regularly with an over-the-counter moisturizer, especially after a bath or shower as this removes moisture from the body. Running a humidifier can also help keep skin soft.
Arthritis – Many sufferers report that their arthritis is more painful in the winter. Ease arthritis pain by staying warm, which includes taking warm baths and enjoying some time in the hot tub. It’s also important to stay active in order to keep muscles strong.
Slips and Falls – Suggesting winter boots with traction might sound more like fashion advice than health advice, but slippery sidewalks and parking lots can be a serious issue for senior citizens, who already run a risk of being injured in a fall due to brittle bones. Choose footwear that is as functional as it is stylish. Snow might be falling, but you shouldn’t be, too.
General Unhealthy Feeling – If you’re just feeling a little bit crummy this winter, it might be because you need to make time for fitness in your schedule. We’ve written before about the top-quality exercise programs and amenities that come with being a Sherwood Oaks resident. Be sure to use them! Combined with a full menu of healthy foods, we are your partner in staying active and healthy this winter.
Some great news for the winter season (and every season)? Residents of retirement communities are shown to have a longer lifespan with greater quality of life because of the balanced lifestyle that they are able to take advantage of. With so many opportunities for socialization, exercise, and nutritional food, it’s easy to see why retirement communities like Sherwood Oaks are a healthy decision.