Seniors Outreach - February 13, 2019

IT’S COLD! We are definitely not used to it. As a result, the two major items on our list as seniors during this winter time are –

a. Keeping warm – When seniors go outside, the following are some good items to pay attention to: Wear layers - During colder months, Seniors should wear several layers of clothing. Start with a layer that is situated a little closer to the body and made of a fabric that wicks away moisture. For outer layers, wool, flannel or thick sweatshirt material is ideal. Make sure clothing stays dry throughout the day, as wet fabric will do little to ward off a chill. If returning inside after snow or rain, change out of damp layers immediately and replace with dry ones, especially if socks or inner layers have gotten wet.

b. Bundle up when going outdoors - Seniors should be careful to bundle up when heading outdoors during colder months. Wear a coat or jacket and pay careful attention to also cover the head (where the most heat escapes), the neck and hands. Wear waterproof or weatherproof shoes or boots to keep feet warm and dry. As Seniors, we often have trouble regulating temperatures in our extremities and can lose blood circulation to hands and feet quickly. So warm, dry gloves, socks and boots are a must when venturing outside.

c. Eat well and exercise - Some Seniors struggle with nutrition, not for lack of wanting to eat well, but because changes to their bodies, medications or ailments can cause one to lose their appetite. Some of us also have trouble cooking or struggle making meals for one, and may opt for less nutritious options throughout the year. But, eating good, whole, nutritious foods in the winter months can go a long way in helping Seniors to regulate their body temperatures and stay warm. Try hearty soups, roasted vegetables or casseroles during cold months. For Seniors who may not want to (or lack the ability to) cook, several services can provide regular nutritious food, like Meals on Wheels. Exercise is also a great way to increase body temperature and appetite for Seniors who are able to participate. Check out local Senior Centers for safe and enjoyable activities in the winter.

Following these steps will help keep you or your loved one to be safe and warm even in our changeable Alberta weather. If one gets too cold, however, Seniors may begin to experience symptoms of hypothermia such as confusion, shaking, slowed breathing or slurred words. We may also have symptoms that present as difficulty in walking, or uncharacteristic, irritable mood swings.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing hypothermia symptoms, slowly warm them by wrapping them in blankets and adjusting the indoor temperature, if needed. Never rub the individual’s hands or feet, or give them a hot bath or shower, or have them drink alcohol. Instead, take the individual’s temperature, and if it is degrees or below, call 911 immediately.

Keeping vertical

As we maneuver the icy streets and roadways, these obstacle courses require us to build balance and reduce the risk of falling. Ways to do this are some of the following:

• Focused walking - I have always found the ‘penguin walk’ to be the best way to actually walk on the ice. Keep things slow, steady and focused as you walk across the ice.

• Avoid the ice - Don’t take off across any icy roadway/street area if you can. Probably most difficult is our own minds telling us “you’ve done this so many times before, you can do it again.” With this as a mindset, we begin to tackle the icy area whether we need to or not and we often attempt it without slowing down, as we should. Result: can be a severe fall.

• Increase your core strength - Before tackling the winter –take part in physical activities that increase your core strength (e.g. water workout, tai chi, yoga, walking, etc.), burn calories, and help to improve your balance.

• Be socially active - By joining a community group of interest you have the ability to be engaged mentally and physically as well as socially.

• Review medications - Having your pharmacist review your medications annually. We recognize that changes to medications or lack of keeping up with medications may influence our ability to keep vertical.

Getting annual physical checkups – Annual checkups (including vision and hearing exams) identify any influences to keeping ourselves vertical.

• Keeping homes safe - Ensuring that your home is reasonably free of tripping hazards (such as throw rugs, lifting tiles, etc.)

• Wearing practical footwear – Wearing low-soled shoes or proper boots with a good grip for snow and ice enables us to keep balanced. - [Source: findingbalancealberta.ca & Alberta Blue Cross ‘Stay vertical this winter: How to prevent unnecessary falls]

Seniors Outreach provides opportunities to interact and socialize as well as volunteer possibilities in order to keep one’s mental and physical abilities engaged.

Seniors Outreach Activities: Call Seniors Outreach Main Office (403-443-2555 or toll free from Carbon at 1-888-443-2555) to sign up or for more information:

Red Deer Bus Trip – Wednesday, February 20, 2019 ($20/trip)

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Open Rehearsal – Thursday, February 14, 2019 ($20/trip and Rehearsal) And yes, it is Valentine’s Day!

Monthly Information Meetings (1 hour): Thursday, February 21, 2019 – “Taxes for Seniors” by B. McIntyre, CRA

NOTE: Bring your tax questions. This will be very helpful for income tax time which is rolling up soon.

10:00 a.m. CommUnity Drop In Centre, Three Hills

2:00 p.m. Silver Willows Centre, Torrington

Join us for these activities!

SENIORS OUTREACH PROGRAM SOCIETY is thankful to ALBERTA CULTURE AND TOURISM for their support through the COMMUNITY INITIATIVES PROGRAM – OPERATING GRANT FOR 2017 & 2018!