Whether you love the crisp in the air or dread the dropping temps, it's important to stay proactive about your health and wellness as the seasons change. From boosting your immune health with yearly vaccinations to preventing weather-related accidents around the house, these seasonal tips for seniors to stay healthy will help you transition into fall and winter on a strong note.
1. Get Your Flu Shot
The beginning of fall also brings the start of flu season, which means now is the time to get your yearly flu vaccine. The vaccine is especially important for people over age 65, who are at higher risk of developing life-threatening complications like pneumonia from the flu. Remember — to stay protected from the flu, you need to receive the flu vaccine every year.
Now is also a good time to get current on your Tdap vaccine and any other immunizations your doctor recommends, like the Covid-19 vaccine, shingles vaccine or pneumococcal vaccines.
2. Keep Your Home Warm
It's not just extreme outside temperatures that can cause hypothermia — you could be at risk in your own home if you aren't setting the thermostat high enough.
During the winter months, the National Institute on Aging suggests keeping the indoor temperature between at least 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can save money on energy costs by using weatherstripping or caulk around drafty windows and doors and keeping the doors (and vents) closed in rooms you aren't using.
3. Gear Up For Outdoor Activity
There is no bad weather, only bad clothing, if you subscribe to the old Scandinavian proverb. As temperatures drop, there are still plenty of ways to embrace the season and enjoy time in nature. Plus, spending time outdoors has been linked to a slew of physical and mental health benefits, and enjoying outdoor activities with a friend is an excellent way to maintain social connections. All you need is the right gear to bundle up.
Plan ahead for outdoor activities by dressing in layers so you can easily adjust your wardrobe to your comfort level. Don't forget a hat and scarf, which can prevent heat loss through your head and neck. If you plan on participating in activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or other snowy recreation, dress in waterproof outer layers and wear shoes with good traction.
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Keeping up a healthy diet in the winter months is one way to ensure you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need for the season.
The start of the season is also a good time to update your primary care provider on any vitamins or supplements you're taking. Depending on where you live and your unique health considerations, your doctor may recommend a vitamin D supplement or a diet rich in vitamin D if you aren't getting adequate amounts from sun exposure.
5. Prevent Cold Weather Accidents
In the fall, wet leaves can lead to slipping and accidents. Remember to keep your outdoor walkways clear of foliage, and look into raking and leaf-blowing services that can handle the chore for you.
Cold and precipitation can also be a recipe for disaster in the winter. To prevent falling on icy walkways, make sure to shovel and salt the paths around your home. And don't hesitate to ask friends or family for help or hire a service to take care of snow removal. Some people over age 55 and those with certain health conditions should avoid shoveling altogether to avoid serious injury or harm as the burst of intense activity could put you at risk.
Enjoy the Season
By following these tips for seniors to stay healthy, you can make the most of the season while keeping your health and wellbeing in focus.