No time of year poses challenges for senior citizens quite like the winter months. Especially in the north, ice and snow are walking hazards for people of any age. But older persons generally have unsteady walking patterns, use walkers and canes, and may experience moments of weakness in their muscles and bones. This makes walking in the winter a tricky prospect, or at least one that deserves a watchful eye.
Walking isn’t the only challenge older members of the family may experience in the winter months. There are other health and wellness challenges, as well. Some of these include:
- Bone fractures
- Heart attacks
- Other bodily injury
- Flu or pneumonia
How Seniors Can Overcome Common Winter Challenges
When your parents and grandparents are home, ensure they keep their thermostats at a reasonable temperature. The optimal temperature is 70 degrees. They should also dress in layers, which will go a long way to preventing hypothermia and other cold weather illnesses.
If you don’t have one, invest in a humidifier to keep the air moist. Dry air will wreak havoc on their lungs.
Be sure you check on seniors often. Don’t let them drive, especially on snow and ice. If they will let you help with the chores around the house, then by all means, do so. This includes carrying groceries and sweeping the floor.
Senior Citizens Can Get Lonely In Winter Months
Winter is a lonely time for a lot of people. For senior citizens, it can be especially lonely. Seniors often experience one or more of the following intense emotions during this time of year:
- Social isolation
- Loss of appetite
- Time confusion
- Lack of energy
- No interest in normal activities
Frequently visiting your parents and grandparents can do a lot to ward off these emotional setbacks. All you have to do is check-in by phone once or twice a day and visit them in person a couple of times a week. Senior citizens love having visitors. They often need someone to talk to, play games with, or watch TV with, and just by participating in these activities on occasion, you can do a lot to ensure that feelings of loneliness and isolation don’t linger any longer than they have to.
If you live at a distance and cannot be there on a regular basis for your older family members, consider hiring a sitter or companion to pay them a visit on occasion. Even a volunteer caregiver can find senior activities in their neighborhood to help ward off winter emotional challenges.