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Avoiding the Hazards of Winter for Older Adults
Try to avoid strenuous activities like shoveling
snow. You should ask your doctor if this level of
activity is advisable. If you must shovel, warm up
your body with a few stretching exercises before you
begin and be sure to take frequent breaks
Drink at least four or five glasses of fluid every
day. This should not change just because it is
winter. You may not feel as thirsty as you do in the
summer months, but as you get older, your body can
dehydrate more quickly, putting you at greater risk
for complications from a number of illnesses and
also changing how your body responds to some
This usually occurs because of dry skin. Wear more
protective creams and lotions to prevent the dry and
itchy skin commonly experienced in the colder months
when humidity levels are lower. You should apply
them after bathing and then daily.
For older persons living alone, it is a good idea to
have a way to communicate quickly with other persons
or medical personnel. If you have a cell phone, keep
it handy. Another option is a personal emergency
response system—a device worn around the neck or on
a bracelet that can summon help if needed.
If you are a caregiver, please
remember to check on your loved one frequently. Offer to
shop for her or him and check on medications when the
weather is very cold and snowy. And remind any person
who interacts with her/him to get a flu shot.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York
City, is one of the nation's largest and most
comprehensive hospitals, with some 2,600 beds. One
of the most comprehensive health care institutions in
the world, the hospital is committed to excellence in
patient care, research, education and community service.
NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York
metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the
best academic medical institutions in the nation,
according to U.S. News & World Report. The hospital has
academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading
medical colleges, Weill Cornell Medical College and
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
For more information, visit www.nyp.org.