WELLNESS TIPS - Winter can be hard on your mental and physical health, especially if you’re a senior and already at higher risk than other people. There are so many things to keep an eye on, and we don't just mean salting the sidewalk and shoveling the driveway when the snow falls too hard! Looking after yourself as a senior is a top priority, especially when your environment becomes less hospitable than during the summer. It’s cold, driving and walking outdoors can be tricky, heating needs to be managed indoors, and keeping your body well-fed and fit can become more of a challenge. There are a number of ways that one can adapt during the colder months to ensure that health and wellbeing, both mental and physical, are maintained. Gaming for seniors is a fun way to keep busy: you could try playing on the Wii or any low intensity dance games. There are also food delivery services to keep the fresh ingredients coming while you stay safe and cozy indoors…the beat goes on! If you’re a senior who needs some guidance or have a relative that you’d like to help look after, we’ve got some tips for you!
1. Stay physically active
Getting the exercise that you need can be challenging when it's raining cats and dogs or snowing a blizzard outside, but it's an essential part of staying healthy as a senior. Though getting outdoors may be difficult, it's not something you should avoid if you have a way of doing it safely. Getting outside is good for your mental health, and the fresh air is good for your body, so get to a park with shoveled paths as often as you can. If you need someone to walk with you or give you a ride, don’t be afraid to ask! Staying fit indoors is also an option. There are all kinds of fitness games that you can play that are low risk but still keep your body moving. There are also a number of free home workouts available online, as well as exercise games provided through consoles like Wii. You could go skiing or take part in a boxing match all from the comfort of your living room.
2. Keep Your Mind Busy
Keeping your mind occupied when you’re spending more time bundled up indoors than you usually would is VERY important. Winter blues might not be something you can ward off entirely if you’re naturally prone to them, but keeping your mind active and engaged can help keep them at bay. Even if the winter blues aren't a problem for you, you might find yourself getting a little restless if you don't have things to keep you occupied at home when the weather simply won't allow you to go outdoors. An active mind is one that stays sharp and keeps restlessness away! You could take up a home hobby, if you don't have one already. There are things such as art and needlework, cooking delicious meals from scratch, spending a little time playing roulette or poker at your favorite online casino, reading a new book, or learning a language. Playing online games in particular is not only good for your mental health, as we mentioned before, but also good for your fine motor skills. You could play anything from side-scrollers, which are usually simpler than open world games, to online word and number games. The options are endless if you have access to the internet and delivery services!
3. Nourish your body
That cooking we mentioned? Now is an excellent time to whip up warming, nourishing soups and stews to feed your body all the nutrients it needs to stay well in winter. Make things easier for yourself by cooking big batches and freezing portions for future use. If the weather is so bad that it prevents you from going out to the store, make use of the many grocery delivery services that operate year-round. If you have too much going on for a few days and cooking is something you don't have time for, make use of a meal preparation service that will deliver to your door. Be sure to eat regularly, even if you don't feel like it!
Nourishing your body includes your skin, so make use of extra thick and creamy moisturizers to keep your skin hydrated all winter; remember to drink lots of water too.
4. Stay warm
This might sound like it goes without saying, but people sometimes do not wish to look like they’re overreacting to something as simple as cold weather! The cold is to be kept outside during the winter, at all costs. Before the cold hits, have a professional come over and check out your heating system as well as your home to ensure that all necessary maintenance is taken care of. Get out your winter coat and water-resistant boots and wear them EVERY time you leave the house. Better to have too many layers on and have to take them off than to wear too little and be cold! Catching a cold as a senior citizen can lead to far more serious complications.
5. Keep an emergency kit
In fact, we advise that you keep two! One in your home and one in your car. Winter storms have increased in severity over the last few years. Now, if a storm hits, you could be stuck inside for days. If you’re driving and meet with any kind of accident, a car might have to serve as your home for longer than you’d like while you wait for help to come. Better to be safe than sorry! Here is what a kit should include:
- Electrolyte-replenishing drinks, water.
- Dry foods, power bars.
- Warm clothing and blankets.
- Flashlight and batteries.
- Hand-crank radio.
- First-aid kit.
- Wet wipes, toilet paper, hand sanitizer.
- Backup phone and battery.
If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be able to stay healthy and well all winter!