Winter often consists of lower temperatures, less sunlight, and more time indoors. The same weather that is bothersome to most can prove to be dangerous for others.
Seniors and Medicare eligibles face several dangers including falling on ice or snow, frostbite, and hypothermia. Use these winter wellness tips to help ensure you are healthy, safe, and able to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older adults. Fall prevention is important outside and in your home, but snow and ice can easily blindside you. Tips to protect yourself from falling on ice or snow include:
As temperatures drop, there is an increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia in the elderly. Frostbite and hypothermia are a result of cold weather and can be difficult to notice. Understanding the differences, warning signs, and symptoms are important when practicing winter wellness.
Frostbite occurs when your skin is exposed during extreme winter conditions. The cold weather causes your tissues underneath your skin to freeze. Frostbite causes you to lose feeling in the exposed area, which is commonly your fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks, and chin. If your skin turns white or a grayish-yellow color, or feels firm or waxy, seek medical care immediately.
Hypothermia occurs when your body’s core temperature becomes abnormally low. Hypothermia in the elderly is more likely due to a decreased production of body heat.
Warning signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If you are experiencing these warning signs, take your temperature if possible. If your temperature is below 95 degrees, seek medical health immediately.
Prevention is key to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. Make sure your home is well heated and insulated and be sure to eat healthy foods to fuel your body.
If you need to go outside or travel for any given reason, check the weather, and if possible, avoid extremely low temperatures. However, if you must venture out, wear plenty of weather-appropriate clothing.
Many seniors and Medicare eligibles may be unable to leave their home in the winter. This can lead to a lack of social interaction. Feeling isolated can disrupt sleep, raise blood pressure, increase the risk of depression, and lower your overall well-being. Tips to prevent isolation include:
Home fires can start at any time but are more common in the colder months. It’s important to practice fire safety and have an emergency action plan in place. Here’s what you should remember:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s associated with changes in seasons. The disorder begins and ends at about the same time every year, with symptoms starting in autumn and continuing until spring.
SAD symptoms may include:
*If you or someone you love experiences thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Retirees and Medicare eligibles can fight SAD with a great fitness plan. According to Harvard Medical School, fitness is as effective as antidepressants in some cases. Although a gym membership with fitness classes may help, you can get a great workout at home. All you need is some dumbbells, resistance bands, or even a chair.
In some locations, going for a walk outside isn’t an option due to weather concerns. Have you considered going for a walk at the mall? Many indoor shopping centers open their doors to “mall walkers” before the stores open.
Winter wellness is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle through the holidays and into spring. However, it’s important to focus on your wellness year around. Medicare Advantage plans have additional benefits and coverage that can help you become the healthiest version of you!
Many plans offer hearing, dental, and vision coverage. Plus, some even offer fitness classes like through SilverSneakers®! If you’re interested in hearing more about these additional benefits or have any questions regarding your Medicare coverage, call us at 844-431-1832 or fill out this form to get in contact with a licensed agent.
This article was originally posted by https://www.medicareplanfinder.com/blog/guide-to-winter-wellness-for-seniors-and-medicare-eligibles