• Keep up with exercise programs – Dancing, bowling, yoga, and indoor tennis are just a few of the activities that older adults can continue to partake in, even as temperatures hit seasonal lows. Though exercising outdoors may be more challenging, fit older adults can cross country ski, an activity that is among the highest calorie-burning exercises.
• Dress appropriately – Snow and ice can make sidewalks treacherous for everyone. Make sure to wear waterproof shoes with wide soles that provide sufficient traction. Canes should be fitted with new rubber guards.
• Fill your social calendar – The dark winter months and stress from the holiday season can cause cabin fever. Seeking out family, friends and colleagues, volunteering, and participating in holiday activities, such as parties and caroling, can help keep the winter blues at bay. Talk to a professional if the feelings last longer than a few weeks.
• Plan ahead – Winter storms can limit access to many services. Older adults should have one to two months of prescription medications on hand in the event that they cannot get to a pharmacy. Keep a contact list for emergency and community services in your area that can assist with snow removal and transportation. Mather LifeWays Info Plus is such a service that can connect older adults with the information they need at no cost. Chicago-area residents can call the Info Plus line toll-free at 1-888-600-2560.
• Eat, drink, and stay merry – Culinary treats make the holiday season fun. Keeping with the dietary guidelines provided by your doctor can help make this time of year fun and safe. Winter vegetables like squash and turnips make a tasty and healthy addition to most diets. Be mindful of alcohol intake.
• Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to call on neighbors and friends for help. Ask a neighborhood teen to shovel the walk. Passers-by can help cross icy patches. Grocery delivery services can make particularly wintry days easier for everyone.
Mather LifeWays enhances the lives of older adults by creating Ways to Age Well.SM