Is it getting cold where you live? Here in my mid-Atlantic location, the bitter cold hit a few days ago, with wind even, and we’ve been bundling up every time we go outside. On the way in and out of the supermarket I’ve noticed quite a few older seniors who are clearly bothered by the cold, reminding me of how important it is to keep an eye on aging parents as well as elderly neighbors.
Many older seniors go outside a lot less in cold weather, and if snow and ice are added to the equation they tend to stay home even more. Over at Transition Aging Parents Dale Carter posted a of set simple steps that any of us can use to help aging parents or friends navigate the winter months. Her post, 5 Ways to Help Your Aging Parent Through Winter, offers a set of common sense actions that will ease winter month difficulties for aging parents and also help them stay as healthy as possible. Check out the post.
I will add one more item to the list. While keeping the apartment or house comfortably warm, be sure it’s not too dry. A basic humidifier in the bedroom can make breathing easier and do a lot to help prevent illnesses in the winter months.
Re: aging and coldness. I remember our house in 1970s, with thermostats set at 63 in the daytime and 61 at night. We were proud to be saving on fuel in harmony with the environmental movement. Now, at 83 and 87 we often feel the cold much more easily, and we need much more heat that those under 50 or 60. We are comfortable most days with settings of 73+ degrees and during the night at 71 degrees.
We became aware of hypothermia, when my mother, then at my present age, began shivering at my in-laws house, and someone
realized she was having trouble breathing. A warm blanket, a higher thermostat temperature and she recovered quickly. We need to know how to treat hypothermia, and we need to keep our thermostats at higher temperatures when seniors are in our homes.