Why Seniors Should Move into Assisted Living Before Winter Hits
It’s that time of year. Snow, holidays, baking, and presents. While many people love the winter months, the cold, snowy, icy weather can pose a number of challenges for seniors, especially if they still live in their own homes.
If you have already been contemplating assisted living for your parent or a senior loved one, you may want to address the possibility with them as winter hits. Moving into assisted living offers seniors benefits all year long, but there are some specific advantages that come with living in these communities in the winter.
From the risk of slipping on the ice to potential accidents on hazardous roadways, seniors have to be extra careful during winter months to stay safe and uninjured. When you move a parent or senior loved one into assisted living, you avoid some of the biggest worries about winter safety.
In assisted living, seniors can avoid roadside emergencies, and they don’t have to worry about cleaning the snow from their driveways or sidewalks. Even if seniors have family members who care for them, it might take time for someone to drive to their house to clear snow or pour salt. Assisted living communities have staff members who take care of winter upkeep as needed, so there’s no delay if seniors want to get out and about. Without the worries of winter maintenance, seniors can enjoy the first snowfall, instead of being concerned about how the icy weather will impact their daily routine.
Trips to the grocery store in winter can be an uphill battle for seniors, too. It may seem like they’re always fighting crowds in a pre-storm rush or trying to get their usual groceries in snowy weather. When seniors are in an assisted living community, they don’t have to worry about keeping the pantry full. They’re provided three meals a day and snacks, so there’s no need to worry about running out of food in a storm. Plus, if your parent loves keeping their hands busy in the kitchen, they don’t have to give up baking. Assisted living communities often have shuttles to and from the store or grocery delivery services, and opportunities to bake together and share recipes.
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Winter might be holiday season, but it’s cold and flu season, too. Seniors are especially vulnerable to the flu this time of year, so it’s important to make choices that are best for their health.
Living in an assisted living community can help your loved one avoid the hazards of winter illness. First, seniors are in a warm, clean environment, so they’re less likely to get a cold than when they’re out in the winter air. They also have experienced health professionals on staff 24/7 to monitor their health and immediately treat any illness that may flare up. Staff members can also help seniors stay up-to-date on their medicine and vaccinations, keeping them in the best health possible.
Home upkeep in the cold months, in addition posing a risk for seniors’ safety in the winter, impacts their health, too. A fall can land a senior in the hospital, where they’re susceptible to infection or a long recovery. When it’s a harsh winter, there’s even more to do around the house, like cleaning up snow that’s tracked inside or checking that pipes aren’t frozen. The longer seniors are out in the cold or working hard inside cleaning, the more likely they are to get sick.
In the spring and summer, seniors easily get as much sunshine and fresh air as they need. In the winter months, it’s much harder for seniors to stay active and get enough exercise. When the temperature drop, some activities seniors love, like golf, tennis, or outdoor walking, aren’t possible. If seniors are unable to exercise, they are vulnerable to illness and being stuck in a slump.
Moving into an assisted living community can help seniors stay active, even when the weather isn’t cooperating. Many assisted living communities offer great classes to keep seniors moving. You can find classes like aerobics, yoga, indoor swimming, and more. The best part is that all the offerings would be just a few steps away from your parent’s apartment. There’s no need to go outside or drive anywhere, which they would have to do if they lived at home and took classes at the YMCA, for example. It’s the most convenient way for seniors to keep their joints moving and their spirits high.
Winter months can be lonely and dull for seniors who are cooped up inside. Staying busy indoors and engaged in the assisted living community helps seniors avoid the boredom and even depression that can be a byproduct of winter.
Assisted living communities regularly have clubs and activities in which seniors can engage. From book clubs to crafting activities to game nights, seniors’ hands and minds stay busy, even when they can’t go outside.
This is also a great way for seniors to avoid being lonely. For most families, the holiday season is a busy time, with school programs, office parties, and shopping for presents. It can be hard to find time to visit grandma or grandpa. If it’s cold outside, a senior might not go out often, making it hard to connect with family or friends.
Moving into assisted living comes with a built-in community. Seniors have new neighbors in the same community with whom they can spend time, eat, and engage in activities. In fact, many senior living communities have holiday parties and crafts for seniors to enjoy this time of year.
Instead of dreading the cold months, moving into an assisted living community can make winter an enjoyable time for seniors. They won’t be snowed in alone. Instead, they’ll be surrounded by a community of friends and a staff that can keep them safe, healthy, and engaged.
Are you a caregiver for a senior loved one? If so, we would like to share this holiday gift with you – three of our most popular e-books! Download them now.
About Elizabeth Bemis
In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.