Winter can be a season full of cool, crisp afternoons, hot cocoa and snow-filled strolls. However, winter brings its own set of ailments and injuries. Between icy pathways, stiff joints and an increase in cold and flu cases, winter is a time that everyone, but particularly elderly adults need to take precautions to remain safe and healthy.
Avoid The Winter Blues
Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as the “winter blues”, is the seasonal depression that typically accompanies the winter season. Less daylight, less time outdoors, cooler weather combined with the stress of the holidays can lead many to suffer from feeling more depressed. To avoid this, make sure that you are doing activities that will help combat these feelings. Keep curtains and blinds open during the daylight hours to take advantage of the sunlight. In addition, getting outdoors as much as possible can also help.
And as always, staying connected to activities and people that bring you joy can help ward off any feelings of sadness that accompany the winter.
Be Safe Outdoors
While getting outside is equally important in the winter, safety should remain a high priority. Ensure you are wearing proper clothing at all times–even if the sun is out, warm clothing like coats, scarves, mittens and socks are a must. In addition, make sure your footwear is appropriate for wet weather and even icy conditions. This will keep your feet warm and help avoid falls and fall-related injuries.
Relieve Stiff Joints
With the cooler weather comes stiff joints and discomfort. A few simple ways to help relieve your stiff or uncomfortable joints is to maintain some level of fitness year-round, particularly with low-impact exercises (i.e. water aerobics, etc.). If you do suffer from discomfort, soaking in a warm bath can help soothe them. In addition, some have even found that spicy foods can help relieve the discomfort in joints.
Keep An Eye On Your Health
The cooler weather can lead to a variety of different health issues. For one, heart attacks and other heart ailments are more common in the winter as the cooler weather puts more strain on the heart and can increase blood pressure. Cold and flu viruses often run rampant in the cooler months so load up on vitamins and nutrients and consult with your physician about preventative measures like a flu shot.