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Winter Wellness & Safety Tips for Older Adults

The winter months are here—with cold temperatures, dry air, and snow and ice. Here are some tips to help seniors stay safe and well this season.

  • Home safety. Smoke and CO2 detectors are essential when windows are shut tight. If you use a space heater, turn it off when you leave. Protect against indoor trip hazards by removing clutter, low tables, electrical cords and throw rugs. If you have difficulty adjusting to changes in light, keep rooms well lit. Use night lights in the hallway and bathroom.

Outside, wear closed comfortable shoes or boots with rubber soles to avoid slips. If you use a cane or walker, make sure the rubber tips are in good condition so they don’t slip on wet surfaces. If you are in your own home, make sure someone shovels and de-ices your outdoor steps and walkways.

  • Bundle up. Seniors are less able to regulate their body temperature, putting them at increased risk of hypothermia in cold weather. Keep the thermostat set at a comfortable temperature, avoid sudden exertion, and wear layered clothing outdoors to retain body heat. Wear a hat or head scarf, keep hands and feet warm, and protect your ears against harsh weather.

The cold air and indoor heaters may cause dehydration so drink plenty of water and use moisturizers to avoid itchy winter skin. TIP: Indoor plants give off moisture and oxygen, and the colors brighten up a grey day.

  • Eat well. Comfort foods feel good but lack quality nutrition. Include fruits, vegetables and whole grains to maintain optimal nutrition and well-being. (They may also help with digestion and may lower cholesterol and blood sugar.) Add lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts to your diet; consume low-fat or fat-free milk products; and limit unhealthy fats, sodium and added sugars. Remember your vitamins and supplements!

At the JCHC communities, we prepare fresh, nutrient-packed homemade soups for residents who are on meal plans (they are also available for purchase at Lester Senior Housing’s General Store). A bowl of delicious hot soup in the winter is a great way to support our seniors’ well-being with immune-boosting ingredients and a healthy dose of care in every spoonful.

  • Exercise. Daily exercise helps keep your body strong and your mood positive. Try to get fresh air and sunshine, even on cold days, as sunlight provides Vitamin D which aids in strengthening bones. Cold weather walks can burn more calories, an added benefit. Take it slow until you are warmed up, and stay hydrated.

Choose fitness classes that help stretch, tone and strengthen muscles, promote relaxation, and improve coordination and cardiac health; better coordination and balance enhance wintertime safety by helping to prevent falls. These are all reasons why we offer a variety of regularly scheduled exercise classes at all four JCHC communities.

Treadmills and stationery bicycles—like the ones in the fitness centers at Lester Senior Living and Village Apartments—also provide a safe, low-impact workout.
Outdoors not an option? Walk indoors (as many do along the promenade at Jewish Federation Plaza), do chair exercises, or swim at an indoor pool.

  • Stay connected. Make sure you have someone who checks in on you periodically, in person or by phone—a friend, neighbor or relative. An important benefit of living in a senior/retirement community is that one always has neighbors and a staff around, and at JCHC communities, individual 24-hour emergency alert system in every apartment.
  • Stay socially active. Fight winter blues by getting out and sharing social, cultural and educational activities with others. Explore new interests in a group setting. You’ll feel better! If you’re wondering what our residents are up to on any given day at one of our senior living communities, check our calendars online. Several programs a month are open to area seniors at Village Apartments: the Tuesday programs (4:00 p.m.) and the Wednesday afternoon discussion group and knitting club.
  • Join us for lunch – We invite area seniors who’d like to sample our food—including our delicious, homemade, hearty soups—to enjoy a complimentary lunch in Café Ruth, our casual bistro at Lester Senior Living. Café Ruth is open Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and serves soups, salads and sandwiches. It’s also open to the public to enjoy a light lunch—great for those who work in the area, are running errands nearby, or have finished a morning workout at the neighboring Lautenberg JCC.

If you’d like to enjoy lunch on us in our bistro and tour the community, contact David Rozen at (9730 929-2725 or davidr@jchcorp.org.

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