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Three Tips to Stay Safe this Winter

As temperatures continue to drop, the chance of winter weather-related injuries increases.

During these cold winter months, it’s important that your elderly loved one understands the potential dangers that are associated with these conditions. Today we’re offering you three helpful tips to pass along as precautions for this time of the year.

Here are three ways to combat the cold:

  1. Healthy diet – The cold temperatures usually keep people indoors, which in turn can cause them to eat a smaller variety of foods that are not rich in nutrients. This cycle can lead to nutritional deficits, which may include a vitamin D deficiency. When the weather gets cold, you’re less likely to head outdoors and be active, so be sure to stock your pantry with foods that are fortified with or are rich in vitamin D. These foods include grains, milk, tuna and salmon, just to name a few.
  2. Stay positive ­– When winter hits and the amount of daylight begins to dwindle, it’s easy to feel symptoms of depression. These feelings of sadness can often be classified as the “winter blues.” Because the weather sometimes forces us to stay indoors, these conditions can leave many seniors experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness. It’s important to check in with your loved one as often as you can to help combat these feelings of loneliness and depression. Stop by for a visit, or even just take a few moments for a quick daily phone call to let your elderly family member know that you’re thinking about him or her. Another way to combat seasonal depression is to encourage your loved one to take up a hobby. This will provide a sense of accomplishment and will keep his or her mind busy and not focused on the winter doldrums. Please note, if you feel your loved one is experiencing something more severe than the winter blues, it could be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a more serious form of depression that often affects people in the winter months. Contact your family member’s physician if you believe he or she may be suffering from SAD.
  3. Stay safe ­­– Staying warm in the winter sometimes takes a lot of effort. To help stave off the cold temperatures, your loved one may using space heaters, a fireplace, gas heaters, generators, etc. If so, check the status of the fire and carbon monoxide detectors in that house. To ensure your loved one’s safety, check the batteries on all detectors, and if a detector is outdated, purchase a new one. A malfunctioning heater and other warming devices can lead to fires or carbon monoxide poisoning, so it’s always better to be on the safe side.

As the winter continues, keep these three tips in mind to help keep your elderly family member healthy and safe during the colder months.

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St. Barnabas Health System
5850 Meridian Road
Gibsonia, PA 15044

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