Tips for seniors to stay healthy this winter

By Lindsay Advocate

Ross Memorial Hospital cares for seniors and provides support to their families year-round, but they often see an increase in hospital visits in the winter months. Their healthcare teams have joined together to share their top tips for seniors to stay healthy and happy throughout the winter months:

GET YOUR FLU SHOT: No matter what your age, the flu shot helps reduce the risk of acquiring the flu and may reduce the severity of your illness if you do catch it. It is not only important for your health but can help to reduce transmission of the flu to others; especially more vulnerable populations such as the chronically ill, elderly, or children.

WATCH YOUR STEP: It can be icy in the winter and your risk of a slip and fall may be higher. When going out on a winter day, wear properly fitted shoes with good grips and bring your cane or walker with you. It is also nice to walk with a friend or neighbor in case of a fall.

STAY ACTIVE AND SOCIAL: It can be hard to stay active when days are short and cold! This is a great time to join an indoor walking club or attend programs at your local community centre for safe and supervised ways to get active. Community Care has many walking and exercise programs, which take place in communities throughout the Kawarthas. For more information, contact Jordan Prosper, Health Promoter, Community Care, at 705-324-7323 ext. 186.

BE PREPARED: In the winter, it’s important to be prepared for bad weather and possible power outages. Talk to your family about what you would do during a winter weather-related emergency. Consider having alternative heat sources available such as a wood burning stove or generator. Have access to flashlights, warm blankets, and non-perishable food and water sources. Also, with the holidays fast approaching, make sure you have enough medication to last through the holidays.

WASH YOUR HANDS: The single most effective way to reduce the spread of illness is to wash your hands. Keeping a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket or purse can make cleaning your hands after any event effortless. If you have a senior neighbor or family member, take some time to check on them. Ask if they have enough support through the winter, especially with increased physical tasks like shoveling and potential difficulty getting out of the house due to inclement weather.

Dr. Katie Krause, Geriatrician at Ross Memorial Hospital and the Lindsay GAIN clinic says, “We find that if seniors take a balanced approach to health by eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, keeping social, challenging their minds daily, and getting safe daily exercise, they can have a happy and wonderful winter season.”

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