The chill in the air, frost on the
windows in the early morning, bright sunshine through light gray clouds: Winter
can be delightful.
For older adults, though, planning is important to ensure safe and enjoyable winter days. Let’s look at a few ideas for staying healthy:
Service your home heater. As people get
older, it is more difficult to regulate body temperature and more dangerous to
stay cold. Have an HVAC service check your heater to be sure that you won’t get
caught without heat on a cold day. While you are at it, be sure that portable
or room heaters and carbon monoxide detectors are in excellent condition and
away from flammable items.
Get ready for snow and ice. Check your
supply of de-icer, if you use it, and plan ahead for someone to clear snow. Inventory
your emergency supplies, including food, water, medications, batteries and a
portable radio or TV, in case of power outages.
Eat a varied, colorful diet to ensure your
body and brain have nutrients for top performance. What a great time to do this
with warm bowls of soup and delicious cranberry whole grain muffins! Cook a big
pot of vegetable soup and freeze it in pint jars to eat every week or so. Add
some home-baked muffins, and you have healthful food for a December evening. (See
recipe ideas at vegetable soups and muffins.)
Exercise is essential for healthy bodies and brains, but the usual neighborhood walks and trips to the gym may be out of the question some days. You can find exercises on the computer at websites such as NIA’s Go4Life, and SilverSneakers.com. Exercise at home or with a neighbor for 30 minutes five times a week.
Games and Books
Stay mentally active to keep your mind healthy. Mah Jong, Bridge, a feisty game of Monopoly, and, of course, any interesting book or magazine make you think, may reduce stress, and are perfect for a healthy brain.
Socializing is incredibly important for
a healthy body and mind. Bundle up and go to a class or have dinner with
friends when you can. When it is just too cold, the telephone and computer can
keep you in touch with others. Try using Skype or Facetime to see your friends on the phone or computer
while you are talking!
Stay healthy and enjoy the chill in the air!
Would you like help
making healthy and safe decisions for yourself or a loved one? Contact
Dr. Cheryl Greenberg at TheAgeCoach@gmail.com
to discuss your concerns and plan the next steps in a healthy and satisfying