After a long, cold winter, springtime is finally upon us! For many seniors, the first signs of spring mean leaving the house for the first time, getting sunlight in the evening, and making functional and aesthetic changes around the home.
While there’s a lot to be excited about, studies show that as we age, we become more sensitive to shifts in seasons and temperature. There are a few changes we should consider making to accommodate the physical and mental health of seniors.
Dr. David Abbott, a geriatrician at St. Mary’s Health Center, shares a few helpful tips to keep in mind as you and your older friends approach the shift in weather: “keep an extra layer of clothing, such as a sweater or waterproof jacket available, stay hydrated, eat a well-balanced diet, continue with moderate exercise and stay up-to-date on immunizations.”
That’s a lot to remember going into the spring! Fortunately, we’ve compiled a go-to list of everything you should consider when preparing yourself and a senior loved one for a change in season:
1. Spruce Up:
Grab the gardening tools and help spruce up their garden, lawn, or outdoor living area. Make a day out of raking up those leftover leaves, refreshing the greenery, and repotting the plants to bring your senior friend’s home into the new season.
2. Set New Activity Goals:
The spring means starting over and focusing on the cornerstones of good health. Set new goals for you and your older loved one so that you can both be challenged together. Try a new workout this month or go for a set number of walks per day.
3. Do a Home Safety Check:
Keep your older loved ones safe and healthy by making necessary adjustments inside the home as the weather changes. Adjust the thermostat, make sure insulation is up to date, update smoke detector batteries and ensure that your senior loved one has the proper clothes for the changes in temperature.
4. Schedule A Doctor’s Visit:
Seniors should be seeing their primary care physicians at least once every six months. Take this new season as an opportunity to help them schedule or get to their next appointment and also make sure they’ve received their latest influenza and pneumonia vaccines.
5. Assemble a Spring Care Package:
A care package is sure to make your loved one’s day. Add some seasonal necessities like eye drops, chapsticks, tissues, and allergy relief tabs, or just something to get them through the season, like a puzzle or a pair of cozy socks!
6. Learn About Senior Isolation:
The cold winter months certainly pose a big threat to senior loneliness, but isolation is not seasonal. Spending extended periods of time alone has major impacts on the health of older adults. Learn about senior isolation and how you can help your loved ones avoid it this season.
For more ways to keep seniors safe all year round, sign up to receive free weekly updates from Ready to Care. We provide you with small and major ways you can provide comfort and support.