The Senior Guide to “Weathering” the Storm This Winter
If you are one of the many seniors who hasn’t been able to retreat to the heat or escape the cold for winter—this time of year can be really frustrating. The winter can be downright miserable in most areas of the country and for seniors it can actually be dangerous.
Simply being too cold alone can make anyone (particularly seniors) very sick. Being indoors most of the time also makes it more likely you will breathe in air that will get you sick—causing you to be more likely to catch a cold or flu.
And there is also simply dealing with the old itself. As we age, we start to lost the ability to maintain as much body heat. In fact, we lose that body heat much faster than we did when we were young. This can make cold temperatures seem even more devastating as a senior.
This also puts seniors at a higher risk of getting hypothermia, even in situations where younger adults may not fall victim to this condition. Hypothermia happens in seniors when they reach a body temperature of 95 degree or lower and it can come with major health issues.
Simply put, seniors and winter don’t go hand-in-hand. However, it doesn’t mean that this time of year can’t be fun, and that there aren’t things you can do to help “weather the storm” of winter if you will.
Take a look at these suggestions below!
Don’t Be Afraid to Keep The Heat in Your House Higher Than Normal
We are all conscious of our energy bills, especially in the middle of summer and winter when they can get quite high. During the winter, don’t spend too much time focusing on how to keep your bills low. Keep the heat at a comfortable temperature. It is typically recommended that you put the heat settings anywhere from 68-70 degrees during the winter.
If you are worried about your bills getting too high, consider a smart thermostat that can control the temperatures when you aren’t there and close off the rooms that you don’t need heat in so you aren’t spending money heating them. You can even put a towel under the door to keep your warm air out!
Add Little Cozy Touches to Help You Feel Warm
Whether you are looking for a small space heater, or a plug-in fire place, sometimes little touches like this in the house can not only make your space feel warm, but more cozy as well. There are other things you can do as well to help keep your home warm, such as making sure you aren’t losing heat through your windows, adding heated blankets to your beds and consider heated socks or slippers to war around the house.
Don’t Forget About Staying Warm While You Sleep
Most people like to sleep in slightly cooler temperatures. However, be careful with this during the winter. You don’t want to get too cold!
Make sure you sleep with socks and long underwear on and consider sleeping with a cap on your head (especially if you have thinning hair). Extra covers and heated blankets and mattress pads can also help keep you warm in the middle of the night.
Heading Out in the Cold
You can’t stay indoors forever in the winter, so when you do need to head out in the cold, keep these tips in mind that will help you stay warm and safe when you head out.
- Always wear a hat. Seniors already struggle to keep in body heat and this is the first place you lose body heat. This is especially important for those with thinning hair.
- Wear gloves, extra layers (instead of just one warm layer) and warm socks whenever you leave the house.
- Consider wearing long underwear under your clothes if you are going to be outside for more than a few minutes
- Don’t forget warm, flat shoes with anti-slip bottoms that will prevent you from falling if it is slick and icy out.
Remember, sometimes the cold can wreak havoc on you, even if it doesn’t feel all that cold in the moment. So it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Find Ways Around Going Out in the Cold
Sometimes, it’s just too cold, too snowy or too miserable to go outside. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that you can do in order to bring the things you need to you. There are so many companies that are now offering same day or next day delivery on their products and services.
For example, Amazon offers free one day and two day shipping for virtually any products you need. There is GrubHub, UberEats and Postmates that can deliver food from your favorite restaurants to you and companies like InstaCart that will do your grocery shopping for you and bring it right to your door.
Even Target is now offering same day delivery on many of their essentials, which means you don’t have to go out in the cold to run errands if you don’t want to.
Get Ready For Some Fun Indoor Activities
Your best bet in the winter is just to stay inside and stay out of the cold when you don’t absolutely need to be out there. It can cause a little bit of cabin fever if you aren’t careful, but here are some fun indoor activities that can help keep you busy during those cold winter months.
- Playing cards
- Inviting friends and family over to you
- Hosting dinner parties (in your house)
- At-Home Exercise Tapes
- Redecorating the home
- Arts and crafts
- Skyping in with the grandkids
- Playing in online card groups
- Joining a virtual book club
These are all things you can do to have fun, exercise and even have some social interactions—that don’t require you going out in the cold.
While these tips an tricks may not be as fun as say, hoping on a plane to Florida every winter, they are a great ways to make winter more enjoyable no matter how low the temperatures go.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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