Keep Your Elder Safe During the Winter Months

October 29, 2013

Winter is a difficult season for elders, their families and their caregivers in regions that experience cold temperatures and snow.

  1. Right away we think of ice, falls and hypothermia.

  2. The solutions to these problems are fairly straight--forward; appropriate clothing, layering of clothing, support when walking, salting icy patches and so on.

  3. As the weather gradually gets colder and the days shorter, a form of depression can affect our seniors. You will notice changes in them such as a loss of energy, an increased appetite and feelings of lethargy and tiredness. This winter SADness is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder and is brought on by the changing seasons, but it typically affects people in the fall and winter, especially women.

  4. Another negative effect of the weaker sun and shorter periods of sunlight that are part of the winter months is that elders have a difficult time getting enough sun exposure to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that has been linked to bone health, cancer prevention, incontinence prevention, and diabetes prevention. A person can also obtain vitamin D by eating certain foods such as salmon, beef, and egg yolks, and by taking dietary supplements.

The winter months with their colder temperatures, snow and ice can be beautiful to the eye and exciting for skiers and snowboarders--but can be a very dangerous time for your senior. Be aware and vigilant of the hazards listed above and proactive about protecting our older family members..

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