As people get older they get more sedentary; it’s the way of things. This reduction in activity, however, can contribute to poor blood circulation. Poor circulation then interferes with the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature resulting in an exaggerated sense of cold, particularly in the hands and feet. During extreme cold spells hypothermia and even frostbite are real concerns for the elderly. So what can be done to combat this risk? In this article we’ll look at a few common sense ways the elderly can keep warm this coming winter.
Staying Warm in All Conditions
Maintaining adequate warmth during the winter is a priority for people over 60. Here are some important dos and don’ts from the folks at Independence that will help you avoid getting too cold this winter.
- DON’T save money on heating: Everyone will preach the importance of keeping the thermostat down at night during the winter to save energy but for some that’s not the smart thing to do. Any money an elderly person or couple may save by keeping the thermostat low could be more than offset by medical expenses incurred due to cold-related health issues. Keep your home at the right temperature. We suggest hanging thermometers in the living room and bedroom and keep temperatures between 21 and 24 degrees centigrade (70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
- DO dress in layers: This is always a smart thing to do in the winter regardless of your age but it’s even more important for the elderly. Start with a layer of moisture-wicking long underwear. This type of fabric lifts moisture off the skin and helps you stay warm and dry. On top of the long underwear should be several layers composed of wool or flannel.
- DON’T forget those hands and feet: If you’re heading outside in the cold it’s crucial to protect your extremities. Thick wool socks and gloves are a must as is a warm, wrap-around hat and a scarf to stop cold breezes from making their way inside your coat. And that coat? Goose down or wool if you can!
- DO exercise and eat right: Nothing helps the body stay warm like physical activity any activity, even sweeping or vacuuming gets circulation going and makes you feel warmer. Many senior centres run exercise programs for seniors all year round that can be particularly helpful during the winter. Regular exercise will also help stimulate the appetite, which is something that can wane in older people.
Staying warm during the winter is not complicated but it does require a certain amount of dedication to the cause. Take these tips to heart though and you should be able to transcend the winter months with ease.
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