This Winter, Stay Warm for Your Heart’s Sake
Many seniors are especially susceptible to the cold and end up feeling chilly all winter. There are several reasons why cold weather can be hard on our elders, among them complications from common diseases and health conditions.
The American Heart Association explains that seniors with cardiovascular conditions can experience increased side effects as lower temperatures and winter winds reduce body heat and cause blood vessels to constrict. This leads to difficulty with breathing. Other conditions common to seniors include hypothyroidism which can cause the sensation of cold feet and hands. A sedentary lifestyle, poor circulation from diabetes, and weight loss can also cause seniors to be more affected by cold weather.
The National Institute on Aging cautions that if a senior becomes very chilled, it can result in hypothermia perhaps before a person is even aware of the problem. Residing in a cold house may reduce body temperature to 95°F or lower, causing heart attack, kidney failure, liver damage or worse.
Tips to help seniors stay warm and regulate their body temperatures include eating a nutrient-rich diet and participating in age-appropriate exercises. Keep the house temperature at least 68–70°F. To cut heating costs, close off unused rooms, shut blinds and make sure your house is well-insulated.
Also wear layers and use a small throw over legs or shoulders if you do feel a chill. At night put on long underwear under pajamas, socks and even a knit cap.
While snuggling in, don’t forget to sip the perennial favorite: hot chocolate. For all its addictive properties, chocolate is good for your health. You might even go so far as to say it’s medicinal, in moderation. For a heart-healthy, antioxidant treat, go for bittersweet chocolate with high cocoa mass.
This story is sponsored by MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care of Beaverton located at 14475 SW Barrows Road. Call us at 503.714.7363.
In a picturesque setting overlooking natural wetlands, MorningStar of Beaverton offers 66 suites for assisted living and 38 devoted to memory care, with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom floor plans as large as 974 square feet.