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Avoiding the Hazards of Winter for Older Adults

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  • Strenuous activities. 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 throughout.

  • Dehydration. 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 medications.

  • Winter itch. 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.

  • Home emergencies. 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.

Source: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

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.

 

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