The winter months bring many enjoyable moments. However, they also bring many not-so-pleasant things, like the dreaded flu season. For seniors and people with disabilities this can be particularly troublesome.
Here are some tips to help you stay as healthy as possible during the winter months:
1. Let the Sunshine In
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is most common during Winter. One of the main causes of SAD is reduced exposure to natural light, which helps balance the body’s serotonin and melatonin levels. Sunshine, and the Vitamin D it provides, is key to battling these winter blues. Try your best to get fresh air and natural light every day, even if only for a few minutes. If spending time outdoors is not feasible, you can use sun lamps that simulate sunlight and give your body a boost of vitamin D.
2. Keep in Touch
Seniors and people with disabilities often face an increasing sense of isolation. Fight these blues by keeping in touch with friends and family members during the colder months. Make regular appointments to meet for coffee, to go for a walk, or call your friends on a regular basis. Make sure to connect with others you know who may be in need of companionship.
3. Winter-Proof Your Home
As we age, it gets increasingly difficult to maintain body temperature. Individuals on a fixed income may be tempted to scrimp on their heating bill. Hypothermia is a very real concern. An easy way to ensure you stay warm enough is to set your thermostat to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also have working carbon monoxide detectors in the home, especially if you use space heaters.
4. Get the Flu Shot
As long as you do not have a history of adverse reactions, it is recommended that you get the flu shot every year. People over 65 are at greater risk of developing complications from influenza. It’s also important that all family members who you interact with regularly also get the flu shot. This will help to keep you healthy, and it will benefit the health of your younger family members as well. If you have an attendant, it’s also important that they receive the vaccine to minimize the risk of falling ill and infecting you as well.
5. Eat Healthy & Stay Active
The decrease in temperature is a temptation to be a bit more lax with our diets and be less active. Nonetheless, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and remain active in order to stay healthy. Vitamins and minerals in a balanced diet help us stay healthy in colder weather. Fresh vegetables and fruit boost your immune system. Always have a supply of canned and frozen meals so if the weather is bad you don’t need to go shopping.
When you prioritize your health and well-being you can make the most of the cold season.