Overcoming Winter's Chills
10 Tips for staying warm, healthy and safe this winter
- Put your cell phone in your pocket when going out. If you fall, you'll be glad you did.
- Keep the melting salt and a scoop near the front door.
- Have a few extra gallons of drinking water on hand just in case.
- Don't risk hypothermia by turning the thermostat below 65°F. Frugal is one thing; freezing is another.
- Several lightweight layers of clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat.
- Prep your car for winter road conditions. Check tires, radiator, wipers and battery. Iffy weather? Don't drive if you don't have to. And be sure to put a blanket in the car.
- To help prevent winter falls, wear boots or shoes with nonskid soles. And stay on cleared sidewalks and areas free of snow and ice. Also, use handrails, and avoid dark walkways.
- Food ... is there enough for three to five days in case you're snowed in? Also, limit consumptions and caffeine as they decrease the body's ability to conserve heat.
- Prescription meds ... keep a week's supply on hand. And refill before you run out.
- Have a shovel within arm's reach of the door. And if you must clear a path, push the snow to the side—don't lift it. Remember to take breaks. Shoveling snow is hard work!
Staying active and social to avoid the winter blues
Depression is more common in the winter months, and bad weather can mean social isolation for many seniors. Although you probably won’t be doing many outdoor activities during this time of year, that doesn’t mean you should become a hermit.
Make the effort to spend time with family, friends and neighbors. When the weather makes visiting difficult, pick up the phone.
As often as possible, continue to visit your place of worship. Volunteer and sign up for activities offered by community and health centers. Take advantage of locations that offer senior services.
Staying indoors does not mean being inactive. Keep in shape by walking in place, using a stationary bike or working out with a fitness video, available at the local library. Daily stretching exercises can help maintain flexibility. Of course, check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.