Tips for Addressing Winter Health Issues for Older Adults


i-homecare
You’ve stocked the fridge, bought plenty of sweaters, and made sure your loved one has their medication laid out. In fact, you’ve done everything possible to help keep them safe this winter. But there may be other cold-weather health issues for older adults you haven’t considered. Read on to find out what they are and how you can help.

Heart attacks and strokes

When we think of causes for heart attacks during chillier months, shoveling snow in colder climates comes to mind. However, while the rate of heart attacks does increase in winter, many aren’t related to this type of exertion. That’s because the cold itself poses a risk. When the temperature drops, our arteries constrict, making heart attacks more likely. To someone who’s already in frail health and has heart trouble, it’s easy to see why winter poses an increased risk.
It’s also harder to regulate body temperature as we age since we lose fat, muscle, and some of our ability to generate heat. Body temperature issues can further constrict the arteries and cause tears or splits in the plaque lining our artery walls. This may result in a blood clot that can trigger a heart attack or stroke – the latter of which also occurs more often in winter. Make sure your loved one has adequate heat this season, and that they know to contact you or a professional in the event their heating system fails.

Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is another danger older adults face in winter – mostly due to the lack of sunlight during colder months. We usually absorb Vitamin D via the skin, but gray skies prevent sunlight from getting through. Older adults are also less likely to go outdoors during winter months, presenting few opportunities to absorb what sunlight is available. Too little vitamin D can put your loved one at risk for osteoporosis, dementia, heart disease, and Parkinson’s. Talk to their physician about a vitamin D supplement or dietary changes to get them the necessary nutrients.

Diabetes

Diabetic nerve damage in the foot, also called “neuropathy,” can lead to a loss of sensation. Older adults with neuropathy (and their caregivers) must be wary around space heaters and fireplaces because diabetics may not feel when their feet are overheating leaving them at risk for burns. On the other hand, they may also be unaware if their feet are too cold, which can lead to other health complications. Make sure your loved one’s feet stay toasty and physically check to see if they are cold to the touch.

Depression

When it comes to watching for winter health issues for older adults, one risk factor that many caregivers don’t consider is depression. Your loved one may be a victim of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), or simply lonely due to isolation. The odds of older adults being isolated increases in winter for a number of reasons, but chief among these is weather conditions. Storms, slick roads, and severe winds can keep older adults trapped at home and prevent loved ones from visiting. In these circumstances, try calling or Skyping as often as you can, or encourage your loved one to use a service like the Friendship Line.

Protect your loved one from winter health issues for older adults

In winter, some risks and health issues for older adults are evident, such as broken heating system or exposure to harsh outdoor conditions. To best protect your aging loved one, you must be familiar with less obvious hazards that are no less dangerous. Then you’ll know you’re doing everything you can to ensure their well-being no matter how bad the weather gets!
If you are unsure how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you gain the best in at-home care for older adults. Contact us to find out more.

Institute on Aging

Institute on Aging

Related Posts

Questions?

Give our dedicated Client Service Specialists a call. We are ready to help.

Follow Us

Today, on #WorldSocialWorkDay, we celebrate the incredible work that IOA's #socialworkers do to support older adults and adults with disabilities. 

One of those social workers is Caina Li, whose impact on the San Francisco community far exceeds her role as a Care Manager on the IOA Case Management team. When she's not managing a caseload, Caina continues her efforts through volunteerism, specifically supporting the Richmond District Neighborhood. In the past, Caina has volunteered with the SF Marin Food Bank, Mercy Housing, and even IOA's very own Friendship Line. Thank you Caina for your ongoing commitment to IOA and for your unwavering dedication and commitment to improving the lives of those around you!
We appreciate you and all of IOA's social workers!

#SocialWork #Community #Caregivers #CareManager #CaseManagement #WomensHistoryMonth #Spotlight #TeamSpotlight #SocialWorker #CaseManager #OlderAdults #Adultswithdisabilities
As the first day of Spring arrives, we can't help but feel a sense of excitement and renewal. The Enrichment Center in the Presidio is the perfect place to celebrate the changing seasons with your loved one living with dementia. Join us and take in the beauty of Spring! 
#FirstDayofSpring #EnrichmentCenter #Presidio #NatureLovers #Dementia #DementiaCare #DementiaSupport #Caregiver #CaregiverSupport #MemorySupport
Happy St. Patrick's Day! 🍀🌈 Today, we celebrate the Irish spirit and all things green. Whether you're enjoying a pint of Guinness, wearing your favorite green outfit, or simply spending time with loved ones, we hope this day brings you joy and good luck.  May the road rise up to meet you. Sláinte! 🍻 #StPatricksDay #LuckoftheIrish #Green #Cheers #Celebration #Ageon #GoingGreen
Thanks to everyone who joined us this week for our first-ever Tech Talk, hosted by the IOA Companioa team. Attendees were treated to a series of insights from some of the most exciting startups working to bring technology to dementia care, including  @caredotcoach, @intuitionrobotics, @safely_you, @zemplee_inc, Care Daily, and ella powered by Taproot.

The event was held at IOA's Enrichment Center in the Presidio, which houses our adult day program, and allowed attendees to see this beautiful space while also learning about cutting-edge technologies and perspectives to improve the lives of those living with #dementia. Thanks to all who joined us!

#AI #Technology #PoweredbyAI #startups #AIstartup #Tech #TechPresentation