Winter is coming to Ellisville soon, and seniors in the Autumn View Gardens assisted living community might be prepping to ensure they can stay warm in the colder months.
While it’s traditional to hunker down in homes and blankets, you don’t have to spend every hour of winter indoors. Whether you want to enjoy time in some of the indoor common areas taking advantage of the amenities offered by the community or you like to get out in the sun on the grounds no matter the weather, we have some tips for helping you stay warm this winter — both literally and figuratively.
You can’t enjoy all the wonderful things winter has to offer if you’re constantly shaking with cold. Implement some of these tips to keep yourself physically warm as the exterior temperatures plummet.
Some people have a tendency to crank interior heaters up to as hot as possible to ward off the cold. In fact, some will turn the heat up to a temperature that is higher than what they might keep their home in the summer months with air conditioning.
Sure, you don’t want to come in from a brisk walk outdoors and find icy, refreshing air in your assisted living apartment. But that doesn’t mean you need to keep the temperature appropriate for the tropics. Spending time in a too-warm assisted living apartment can actually make it harder for your body to keep warm when you do venture out.
While preferences certainly vary, the heating and cooling experts at Trane note that 68 degrees F is the ENERGY STAR recommendation for a winter thermostat.
Whether you’re going out or staying in, invest in some cozy socks. When it gets cold, your body actually stops trying as hard to warm your extremities, reducing how much blood flows to feet and hands. It uses the extra blood and energy to keep the rest of you as warm as possible, concentrating on areas that hold vital organs.
So, if you don’t take action, you might be stuck with cold feet even once you move into a warmer environment. Soft winter socks, sock layers or a favorite pair of slippers can all help reduce this issue.
During bright winter days, open curtains and blinds to let the sun in. Yes, you might let in a bit of cold that penetrates the glass of the window. But typically, direct sun streaming into your apartment without direct access to the cold air outside results in greater warmth. It’s also a good way to ensure you’re getting some important natural Vitamin D and a potential mood boost from sunlight.
If you’re venturing outside, dress in layers. You may be cold when you’re sitting outside with a friend, but if you get up to walk, you might warm up and want to shed some layers to keep from overheating. Plus, layers make it easier to move from exterior to interior environments while managing your comfort level.
Your body is especially susceptible to cooler temps when it’s resting, so make sure your bed is equipped for the winter. You might want an extra microfiber fleece blanket to keep heat near your body, for example. Or, if it’s allowed in your assisted living community, you might invest in a heating pad with an automatic off timer to warm your bed up before you get into it.
The science on whether a warm cup of cocoa or tea actually heats your body up physically is questionable. But you can’t deny that holding a hot cuppa as you sit around the fire with friends brings you a warm feeling.
As you’re making choices to keep yourself physically warm this winter, don’t forget to attend to your emotional and spiritual wellbeing too. Consider adding a few elements of decor to your assisted living apartment that bring some of the joy of winter to your day. You might also check the assisted living calendar to find out what activities are going on each day or week. Movement, conversation and laughter can warm you physically and emotionally.
The goal throughout winter is to remain as active as possible. Whether you’re adventurous and can’t wait to stand in the first snowfall of the year or you prefer to cuddle up in blankets with a good book, remember to get up and move and socialize regularly. Keeping your body, mind and soul warm during the winter helps you approach the next season with potentially better health and lets you enjoy this current season, even if the nights are long and the days are cold.
Bethesda Foundaion is not associated with the Bethesda Health Group of St. Louis, MO.