Aging in Place: November 2021

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It is supposed to be an El Nina winter this year, meaning cold temperatures, rain and snow. Winter months can be challenging for anyone to stay in good health, especially for seniors. Staying in good health is essential to enjoy the best quality of life as we move into winter. Illness isn’t inevitable, but good habits tend to keep older adults happy and healthy. Here is information provided by the Center for Disease Control to help us winterize:

  1. First and foremost, keep warm at home. Aging lowers one’s ability to withstand colder temperatures, inside and outside. Leave your thermostat at 68-70 and insulate drafty doors and windows. Dress in layers which will keep you warmer and easier to stay comfortable. Also be sure to move around every hour or so while at home. 
  2. Be safe and warm if outside. Bundle up and layer when outside. Make sure you have a warm coat or raincoat, scarf, gloves, and especially cover your head as that is where most heat escapes. Choose footwear that is non-slip, sturdy and warm.
  3. Eat well and exercise. Eating good, whole, nutritious foods in winter months can go a long way in helping older adults regulate their body temperatures and stay warm. Be sure to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk with Vitamin D, fish, hearty soups and stews. If you need assistance with your meals, contact MOWP at 503-953-8111 for home delivery. Exercise is a great way to increase body temperature and appetite, whether with a JPC exercise class or walking around your home every hour or so.
  4. Prepare for power outages by having easy access to flashlights, candles, and a battery-operated radio and lantern. Have warm blankets and non-perishable foods that can be eaten cold on hand. Wear several layers of clothes, including a warm hat.                                          
  5. Stay connected with family and friends. As daylight hours decrease and the weather turns colder, it can be difficult to feel connected, especially if you live alone or are separated from family and friends. Arrange a check-in system with family, neighbors and friends to connect with each other by phone daily, if possible. If you can’t do that, don’t hesitate to reach out – call the Senior Loneliness Hot Line at 503-200-1633 for a friendly conversation. If you need help getting out for groceries or shopping or doctor appointments, call Ride Connection at 503-226-0700, not only for transportation but other resources they offer for seniors. 

Stay warm and dry, stay healthy, stay active and stay connected.

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Susan Noack has lived in Tualatin for 15 years. Before retirement, she was a development director/event planner for non-profits. Now as an “Aging in Place” senior, her passion is being an advocate for seniors and giving back to the community. She is a member of both the Meals on Wheels People and Juanita Pohl Center advisory committees and chair the Tualatin Area Aging Task Force committee.