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How Can Seniors Prevent Common Illnesses During Winter?

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Seniors are more susceptible to illness than younger adults, and their risk of becoming sick increases considerably in the winter months. However, there are ways for seniors to remain healthy even when the weather is wet and cold. Warren home care experts suggest a few ways your elderly loved one can prevent common illnesses during the winter.

Get an Annual Flu Shot

Flu and pneumonia vaccinations are available to help reduce the effects of these two common winter illnesses. Discuss vaccinations with a physician to ensure the vaccinations are right for your loved one’s personal health. Vaccinations are most effective when given early in the season and give your loved one a better chance of developing immunity to the viruses before being exposed to them.

Eat Well

Proper nutrition is key to developing a strong immune system, which can reduce the risk of catching colds and other common illnesses. A varied diet rich in vegetables and fruits is recommended for excellent overall health. During cold and flu season, consider adding immune system boosters like vitamin C-rich citrus fruits to your loved one’s diet for extra protection. Zinc is also important to prevent and reduce the duration of the common cold.

Stay Warm

Temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit are cool enough to cause conditions like hypothermia and frostbite, and chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and arthritis often worsen in cold temperatures. Encourage your loved one to maintain indoor temperatures of at least 70 degrees throughout the winter and use a backup heat source during power outages. When going out, your loved one should dress warmly and take emergency supplies, such as blankets and extra clothes, to prevent weather-related illnesses.

Monitor Emotional Health

Winter often prevents seniors from going on regular outings, and the lack of sunlight available during winter months has been linked to depression among the elderly. To help prevent depression, encourage your loved one to eat foods fortified with vitamin D, and talk to his or her doctor if depression persists. The doctor may be able to prescribe medication to relieve the symptoms of seasonal depression.

If your loved one Needs help maintaining his or her health during winter and the rest of the year, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of respite and 24-hour care Warren, NJ, families trust, and all of our caregivers are trained in our proprietary Balanced Care Method (BCM), which encourages seniors to eat well, exercise often, get plenty of social and mental stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. For more information on BCM and our other in-home care services, call a Care Manager at 908.450.9400 today.