Cold weather tips for seniors | hypothermia

Cold weather tips for seniors

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What temperature is dangerous for the elderly?

The most obvious danger of cold weather for the elderly is hypothermia. When a person’s body temperature falls to 95 degrees or less, hypothermia sets in. Seniors are more susceptible to hypothermia than younger people because, as we age, our bodies are worse at controlling internal temperature.

The cold during the winter months causes health problems

It may be difficult to detect hypothermia in elderly people since they may not shiver or be aware that they are chilly. But there are additional indicators you may look out for. Your senior may have hypothermia, so you should seek medical attention right away if you witness bluish lips and fingertips, diminished alertness, slurred speech, or moderate confusion.

Many elderly people’s cardiac conditions deteriorate over the winter. Since most seniors have poorer blood circulation, their hearts have to work harder at colder temperatures to pump blood to their extremities. This puts the heart under additional strain, boosting blood pressure and raising the risk of heart attack.

The largest risk groups for catching influenza each year are the elderly and young children. The annual flu vaccination can reduce the severity of the flu in your seniors should they contract it, though it’s never a certainty. Anything you may do to prevent or shorten the flu is useful. For older people, a flu strain can swiftly develop into pneumonia. For healthy people over 65, vaccination against the flu is advised annually.

Ice is more common than snow, although either one can be dangerous. Seniors who use slick sidewalks and roadways run the risk of serious accidents. Additionally, snow and ice are easy to track indoors, and when they melt, they leave slick spots on the floor.

Many seniors report feeling lonely during the colder months and experiencing seasonal depression, even when there are no physical health issues or poor weather in the forecast. Patients with Alzheimer’s and Dementia disease who experience sundowning will notice this in particular. Later in the day, disorientation and agitation are more common during sundowning (after the sun goes down). In general, seniors may feel lonelier this time of year due to reduced exposure to natural light, more alone time, and being confined indoors by the weather.

Cold Weather, Medicines, and Illness

A senior’s body’s ability to maintain heat may be compromised by some disorders. These are:

  • It may be challenging to keep your body temperature normal if you have thyroid issues.
  • Diabetes can prevent warm blood from flowing normally.
  • Putting on additional clothing, using a blanket, or leaving the house might be challenging for those with Parkinson’s disease and Arthritis disease.
  • A person with memory loss can go outside without the appropriate attire.
  • Being inactive and using some medications both affect body heat. These include prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medications like various cold remedies. Ask your doctor whether any of the medications you take could affect how hot you are. Before stopping any medicine, make sure to discuss it with your doctor.

To stay safe in the cold, discuss the following issues with your doctor:

  • Consult your doctor regarding hypothermia symptoms.
  • Any medical conditions or medications that could make hypothermia a unique problem for you should be discussed with your doctor. Your doctor can offer advice on how to avoid hypothermia.
  • Find out how you can stay active even when it’s freezing outside by asking.

Tips for Seniors During Winter

While winter weather poses additional difficulties for senior citizens, there are a number of things you can do to get your loved one ready for the season. Here are our top seven safety and readiness suggestions:

  • First, make sure your senior has lots of warm clothing, heavy socks, scarves, caps, and an appropriate winter coat. When outdoors, a ski mask can help minimize lung spasms caused by the cold air. To help your elderly relative avoid falls on snow or ice, you might also wish to buy them a pair of non-skid shoes.
  • In the event of a winter storm, make sure your senior has plenty of warm blankets and non-perishable food supplies kept at home. Have blankets and food on hand in case of power outages brought on by heavy ice and snow.
  • Encourage your elderly to get vaccinated against the flu and to take a daily multivitamin to strengthen their immune system.
  • Make routine visits to your elderly parents and keep an eye on the temperature in their house. In the winter, some elderly people lower their thermostats to save money, not realizing that this puts them at a significant risk of hypothermia. Encourage the elderly person in your care to maintain a home temperature of no less than 65 degrees.
  • Get your senior’s car serviced before the cold weather arrives if they drive. Make sure there are blankets and water bottles kept in a convenient location in case they get into problems on the road and have to wait for assistance in the cold.
  • According to the tip above, find low-impact exercises to do regularly. In the winter, arthritic pain often gets worse for seniors. Swimming is a low-impact indoor activity that helps reduce arthritic pain and gives the elderly a social setting in which to engage.
  • To assist your seniors to feel connected at this time, check in with them frequently for a talk, even if it’s just a quick one. Nothing can replace talking to someone interested in them and wanting to learn about their day in-depth.

What is the ideal room temperature for an elderly person?

In conclusion, the appropriate room temperature for seniors can vary slightly depending on a person’s health. However, an elderly person’s typical room temperature is somewhere about 78°F. Aside from being more comfortable, those warmer temperatures are also better in stopping the transmission of disease.

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