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Tips for the Elderly to Stay Warm in Winter

NJ Senior Tips

Winter is a difficult time for cold area people – most especially for elderly seniors.  Here are some things to consider (while keeping costs down):

  • Create a “warm room” in areas where you frequently spend time. Turn down thermostats in closed-off rooms, but remember during frigid weather to provide enough heat to rooms to prevent frozen water pipes.
  • Try out different furniture arrangements to move the furniture you use most away from drafts. You might enjoy your favorite chair more if it’s placed in the warmest spot in a room.
  • Moving your bedroom to a south facing room may allow you to take advantage of  solar warmth and light
  • When getting ready for bed, use a hot water bottle to warm up your bed and consider adding an extra blanket.
  • Reverse the spin on your ceiling fan and set it on low to re-circulate warm air down into the living area. Many ceiling fans have a reverse switch on them that will push down the warmer air on the ceiling to help you stay warm.
  • Wear several layers of thin clothing (wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers will hold more body heat than cotton) indoors, which will serve to help insulate your body by trapping warmth in the air pockets between the layers. Multiple thin layers that can be easily removed also help prevent overheating. Wearing appropriate clothing to bed to maintain body temperature while you sleep is just as important as dressing for the outdoors.
  • Use a throw blanket to place across your lap or to cover your feet and shoulders to help you stay warm. Throws and shawls made of fleece are particularly useful because they are not only warm, but also lightweight and less bulky than other fabrics.
  • Wear fleece slippers around the house to help keep your feet warm. Look for non-skid bottoms to help prevent slips and falls. Wear a warm, comfortable hat to keep your head warm.
  • Use insulated drapes and close them at night and on cloudy days to reduce heat loss through windows.
  • Prune any trees or shrubs near windows that block the sun.
  • Block drafts blowing into your home through mail slots, floorboards, and electrical outlets or the damper on your fireplace when not in use. If you have an attached garage, keep your garage door closed.
  • Vacuum heat registers and check to make sure registers, radiators and cold air returns aren’t blocked by furniture or drapes. Air must circulate through and around them for full efficiency.
  • Investigate daytime activities in heated buildings such as senior centers, libraries, churches, and adult day programs, or look for opportunities to volunteer in your community.
  • Light cleaning, walking on a treadmill, playing with a pet and other simple exercise activities can increase circulation and make you feel warmer without undue strain.
  • Hot meals and beverages can provide both warmth and energy during the cold winter months. A cup of your favorite hot beverage will even do double duty, warming the hands as you hold it and the body as you drink it.

Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care.  New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional and reliable home health care and companion care for NJ elderly, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have home care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.

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