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Winter Safety Tips for Older Adults

 

While wintertime in Wisconsin can be the most wonderful time of the year – it’s when families get together to celebrate the holidays and the New Year – it can also be the most dangerous time of the year. Freezing temperatures and snow storms matched with seasonal depression and isolation can create problems for a lot of people. The good news is that there is a long list of ways to stay safe and healthy during the winter. Here are a few tips:

Be prepared for the season

In the middle of January, when the temperature is 20 below (which isn’t uncommon in Wisconsin) it’s important to be protected against the wintry weather. Here are a few ways to prepare for the wintertime, before the season actually begins: 

Double check the heating system – Heating is essential during the winter months. Going without heat could lead to medical problems, so it’s very important to double-check the heating system before the cold weather starts.

Invest in a carbon monoxide detector – The risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning increases in the winter, and almost all cases of CO poisoning occur in December and January. This is because heating systems that don’t work very well or are unvented can release CO into the air. If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector, make sure to purchase one to prevent poisoning. If you already have a detector, double-check that it’s working properly.

Stock up on supplies – Anyone that lives in Wisconsin knows that in the months of November-April, it’s necessary to keep a snow brush in the car. You never know when you’ll need to scrape the ice off the windshield or brush the snow off the top of the car. It also doesn’t hurt to keep a small shovel to shovel snow out from behind the tires. Also, be sure to keep an extra pair of mittens and a hat in the glove compartment, and some warm blankets in the trunk. 

Exercise is essential

It’s a lot easier to find time to get outside and exercise in the summer than in the winter. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It prevents health problems, boosts energy, and can help to reduce stress. It’s also pretty difficult to do in the wintry weather. Luckily, there is a wide variety of fun indoor activities that can help to get active. 

Try some yoga exercises – Yoga is a good way to build muscle and bone strength and there are a bunch of online videos with different exercises and tips to get active.

Join a class – Fitness classes are not only beneficial for physical health, but they’re also a good chance to socialize and meet new people

Go for a walk – If the temperature isn’t too cold, and the sidewalk is cleared, then walking is probably the best option. Just getting out and moving around improves circulation, strengthens muscles, and increases balance. If the weather isn’t cooperating, a stroll around the mall or grocery store would be just as effective.

Keep up a healthy balanced diet 

While it is important to have a healthy diet year-round, it’s especially important during the wintertime. During the winter months, it’s a lot easier to come in contact with viruses that cause the cold or flu. Unfortunately, it’s also when more people seek comfort foods instead of healthy foods. It’s important to maintain a healthy balanced diet year-round. Eating healthy can reduce the need for medication, increase energy and stamina, and improve overall physical and mental health.

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