The winter months bring feelings of joy, togetherness, and holiday cheer for most. But for seniors, the wintertime can be particularly difficult. As people grow older, they're at an increased risk for issues that affect their mental and physical health.
Wintertime Health Concerns for Seniors
Physical Health Risks
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be brought on by fungus, bacteria, and viruses. With upper respiratory infections like the common cold and the flu spiking during the winter months, so do cases of pneumonia.
For many people, colder weather exacerbates joint aches and pains. This is because of barometric pressure changes in the environment when the weather changes. Studies have shown that these changes in atmospheric pressure can influence the way that muscles, tendons, and muscles expand and contract. This can result in:
- Muscle tension
- Joint pain
- Increased risk of injury
The winter is often referred to as “heart attack season” because the number of cardiac events and heart-related deaths increases by 5% in the United States. Some of the many reasons for this spike in heart attacks include:
- Higher stress levels
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Lack of proper rest and sleep
- Shoveling/outdoor exercise
Slips and Falls
Winter weather means plenty of snow, ice, and rain, which can be very dangerous. In fact, 1 in 5 falls result in serious injury, sending over 800,000 Americans to the hospital each year. With weather conditions getting more severe as the wintertime progresses, older adults are more likely to lose their footing when spending time outdoors, resulting in an orthopedic injury.
Some of the most common injuries sustained by older adults include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
Mental Health Risks
The holiday season is a time for joy and togetherness, but it can be especially difficult for seniors. This is because many elderly adults experience loneliness that subsequently results in mental and behavioral health issues that can impact their overall wellbeing. Isolation and lack of social and emotional support can cause or exacerbate the following:
- Bipolar disorder
- Severe cognitive impairment
Some key statistics when it comes to the emotional and mental wellbeing of seniors include:
- 20% of adults 55 and older have some type of mental health issue.
- 12.2% of adults 65 and older report that they “rarely” or “never” receive social and emotional support.
- Men over 85 have a suicide rate of 45.5 per 100,000.
- Poor quality of life is associated with negative coping mechanisms like poor diet and smoking.
- Frequent mental distress (FMD) impacts one's ability to take care of themselves.
- 6.5% of adults 65 and older report experiencing FMD.
Benefits of Hiring in-Home Care
One of the best ways that you can ensure your elderly loved ones are taken care of is by providing additional support when they need it. While many people think nursing homes or assisted living facilities are the only options available, in-home care can help older adults maintain a sense of independence while providing them with the help and companionship they deserve.
Some of the many benefits of hiring Homewatch CareGivers as in-home care for your elderly loved one include:
- Support 24 hours a day.
- Reduced risk of slips and falls.
- Help with housework.
- Help with grooming, dressing, and other personal care.
- In-home physical and occupational therapy.
- Care following a surgical procedure or hospital discharge.
- Emotional and social support.
- Help managing chronic health conditions.
- Transportation services when needed.
Homewatch CareGivers Provides Complete Care
Homecare services are provided for a number of different reasons and for clients of all ages. From shopping for nutritious meals to helping seniors accomplish daily tasks, in-home care can help your parents maintain their sense of independence while living in the home they love.