Baby It’s Cold Outside!
Winter isn’t just uncomfortable, inconvenient and dismal. With the cold temps also come a variety of hazards as we get older. While you may feel completely able to handle whatever winter throws your way, don’t take chances that could affect your health … and your likelihood of experiencing many winters to come.
When sidewalks and roads get slippery, falls become more and more common for seniors. When you’re younger, a wipeout on the ice might just mean a bruised ego. However, the older you get, the greater your chance of fracturing something or even enduring head trauma. The worst part is you may not be able to bounce back from these injuries. In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Mississippi, seniors over the age of 70 experienced a three times greater risk of death after a fall than their younger counterparts. Stay on your feet in icy weather by using traction devices like these over your shoes, or better yet, stay cozy and warm inside!
Hypothermia and frostbite.
Age makes your body less vulnerable to temperature changes. And when you’re not as sensitive to the cold, you may neglect to wear the proper clothing to walk the dog, pick up the mail or take out the trash. Exposure to these bitter temperatures can lead to hypothermia, a condition where your body temperature drops too low, or frostbite, which can cause damage to the skin and ultimately, the bone. When you head out in the elements—no matter how long you’re outside—be sure to bundle up in coats, hats, scarves and gloves.
Because you’re hibernating more during the winter—and having less interaction with family and friends—you may feel a little blue during these months. However, your blah mood could also be a result of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, which is caused by the decline in the hours of sunlight each day. Getting outside and soaking up some sunshine for a few minutes every day can often help. You can also try a light therapy box.
Don’t overdo it with the snow shoveling. In cold weather, your heart works much harder to keep you warm and activities like snow shoveling put even more strain on your heart, particularly if you have heart disease. (As my husband says, “If it looks like I’m making snow angels, call 9-1-1!) Strenuous activities like this also aren’t a good idea if you have balance issues or osteoporosis.