As winter fast approaches, many of us count down the days to spring. But, despite being at the mercy of the elements and often frigid temperatures, winter is what you make it.
While some seniors travel to warmer climates for the winter months, many others cannot. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the winter months-and stay healthy and safe-without packing up and heading south, say experts from Hebrew SeniorLife.
- Get outdoors, not only for the fresh air but also for the sunshine. Because we're indoors so much during the winter months, some people, especially seniors, are susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. The primary source of vitamin D is sunlight, not diet. Even 10 - 15 minutes a day in the sun can help maintain vitamin D levels.
- Get moving. If you're not comfortable walking outdoors in the cold or because it's icy, join a mall-walking club. You can even walk up and down the stairs in your house or apartment building to get exercise.
- Stay in touch. Many of us tend to hibernate in the winter, creating a sense of isolation. Visit your children or grandchildren or the local senior center. Social contact is important for seniors.
- Make sure your driveway and walkways are shoveled regularly and kept free of ice. Hire a professional to help. If you do shovel, go slow and pick up small amounts of snow.
- Dress appropriately when you venture outdoors. Dress in layers and wear clothing made of synthetic materials to help conserve your body heat. A scarf and hat are important for preventing heat loss through your head.
- Drive safely. Check weather conditions before you travel. Pack items such as water, a blanket, shovel and flashlight in case your car breaks down. Make sure someone knows where you're going and the route you're taking so they can send for help if needed.
- Make sure your home is well-prepared for winter. Have your furnace inspected by a qualified technician and make sure your windows have caulking or weather stripping to prevent drafts.
Winter doesn't have to drag you down. If you're not a fan of winter, try looking at it in a new light, embracing the season for what it is. And, remember, spring is only a few months away!