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How to help seniors stay happy and healthy this winter

As the winter chill sets in, it’s essential to take proactive steps to stay warm and well – particularly in your senior years.

At Mercy Community, our elderly residents face unique challenges during the colder months.

As the temperature drops, chest infections and increased blood pressure are more common, viruses spread more easily, and the cold can make it more difficult for the immune system to fight off illnesses.

Fortunately, with a few simple precautions and lifestyle adjustments our aged care team can help seniors navigate the season with comfort and confidence.

Check out our top tips to help the elderly stay healthy and happy this winter.

1. Layer up

Dress in layers to trap heat close to your body. Encourage seniors to wear several thin layers of clothing rather than one bulky layer. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add insulating layers like sweaters or fleeces, and top it off with a windproof and waterproof outer layer.

2. Keep moving

Physical activity generates heat, so staying active can help keep you warm. Try indoor exercises like yoga, dancing, or home workouts to stay active even when it’s colder outside.

3. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Dehydration can exacerbate cold weather’s effects on the body, so aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

4. Eat warm, nutritious foods

Enjoy hearty soups, stews, and hot beverages like tea and cocoa to warm you from the inside out. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich foods in your diet to support your immune system and overall health.

5. Heat your home safely

Keep your home warm and cosy by using reverse cycle air conditioning, space heaters, electric blankets, or heating pads. Remember to follow safety guidelines and never leave heaters unattended or near flammable materials.

6. Seal drafts

Maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature is essential for seniors’ well-being during winter. Prevent heat loss by sealing drafts around doors and windows with weather stripping or draft stoppers.

7. Stay connected

Maintain social connections with friends and family, whether through virtual gatherings, phone calls, or outdoor meetups. Emotional support and companionship can help boost mood and resilience during the winter months.

8. Practice self-care

Prioritise self-care activities like meditation, relaxation techniques, or indulging in hobbies you enjoy. Taking care of your mental and emotional well-being is just as important as physical health during the winter.

9. Get plenty of rest

Aim for at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. Create a relaxing bedtime routine and ensure your sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep, with a comfortable mattress, cosy bedding, and a cool, dark room.

10. Monitor your health

Pay attention to any signs of illness, such as fever, cough, or fatigue, and seek medical attention if needed. Stay up to date with vaccinations, including the flu shot, to protect yourself and others from seasonal illnesses.

11. Wash your hands regularly

Regularly washing your hands can go a long way to stop the spread of germs. If you can’t access a sink and some soap when you’re out and about, make sure to carry some hand sanitiser with you.

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