With colder weather than usual in store for much of the country this winter, it is important for older people to take extra precautions to stay safe and healthy. The older we get the more susceptible we are to bacterial and viral infections. We also lose heat and dehydrate faster. Often as our eyesight and hearing begin to deteriorate, it affects our balance and we are more likely to fall and injure ourselves. This is compounded with breakdowns in our soft body tissues and bones making it easier to get bruised or even fracture a bone. Here are few basic things all seniors can do to keep healthy.
GET FLU AND PNEUMONIA JABS
While flu shots are a good idea for everyone, they really have become essential for seniors. While a flu shot won’t protect against all the different flu viruses out there, they will protect against the major strains. Elderly people should also ask their doctor about pneumonia shots. People with less robust immune systems can benefit from a pneumonia shot. It can help keep a cold from turning into something worse that may put a senior in the hospital. Many local pharmacies, as well as hospitals offer these injections.
As we age our bodies lose heat at a much faster rate. Hypothermia can set in without much notice. Even if the weather is above freezing, seniors should still bundle up when going outside. If they wear layers, including a hat, older adults should be able to avoid exposure or hypothermia. Seniors should make sure to cover all their skin when going outside, including hands. Frostbite is another cold weather hazard that seniors are more likely to suffer from, especially if spending a lot of time outside without proper protection.
Drinking enough water is often something we think about in the summer. But, the winter is also a time to watch hydration levels. With all the bundling up, going in and out of heated buildings, people can lose a lot of moisture without even realizing it. Often, the cold winter wind can also dehydrate older people easily. Seniors should drink lots of fluids. Even hot drinks like tea and hot chocolate will help with hydration.
TRAVEL SLOW AND WEAR GOOD SHOES
Colder conditions are slicker than usual. When going anywhere, even just for a short walk, make sure to wear shoes with good tread. It is also important to budget extra time when going anywhere. Most winter falls happen when people are in a hurry. It is better to arrive late than fall and get seriously injured. Many senior citizens can benefit from a cane or walker when going outside in the winter, even if they normally walk fine without assistance.
AVOID CONTACT WITH SICK PEOPLE
Take care and avoid getting into close personal contact with people who are sick. Even a simple childhood cold can attack the body of an elderly person much more aggressively, and if their immune system is already worn down from fighting off other winter illnesses, an elderly person can quickly get seriously ill.
IF SENIORS FOLLOW THESE BASIC PRECAUTIONS THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO ENJOY A HEALTHY WINTER.