Many seniors are especially susceptible to the cold and end up feeling chilly all winter long. There are several reasons why cold weather can be hard on the elderly including complications from common diseases and health conditions.
The American Heart Association explains that seniors with cardiovascular conditions can experience increased side effects from the cold as lower temperatures and cold winds reduce body heat and cause blood vessels to constrict. This makes it more difficult for oxygen to reach the entire body, and someone with heart disease can have difficulty breathing. Other health conditions common to the elderly include hypothyroidism (a low thyroid gland output), which can cause the sensation of cold feet and hands. Also a sedentary lifestyle, problems with circulation from diabetes, and losing weight can cause seniors to be more affected by the cold.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) cautions that if an elderly person becomes very chilled, it can be dangerous and result in a condition known as hypothermia and may happen before a person is aware of the problem. Even residing in a very cold house may result in a body temperature of 95°F or lower, which “can cause many health problems, such as a heart attack, kidney problems, liver damage, or worse.”
Tips to help the elderly stay warm and regulate their body temperatures include eating a nutrient-rich diet and participating in age-appropriate exercises. The NIA advises seniors not to try and save money by skimping on heating their homes but to keep the temperature at least 68–70°F. To cut heating costs, close off unused rooms, shuts blinds and make sure your house if well-insulated. Also wear layers throughout the day and use a small throw to place over your legs or shoulders if you do feel a chill. Furthermore at night, wear long underwear under your pajamas and socks as well as a knit cap if you are still cold.
At MorningStar of Billings, we specialize in providing seniors with a lifestyle of comfort, wellness and community. Along with the area’s best independent living and assisted living, we are a highly-respected memory care facility. Please visit our website to learn more.
MorningStar Senior Living of Billings represents the finest in senior living with a unique mission statement of: “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Proving a true home for residents, our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve. Offering independent and assisted living as well as memory care, we invite you to setup a tour to experience one of the area’s top senior living facilities.