Are you ready for winter?? I know I’m sure not. I prefer summer. Always have, even as a kid. But, I find, as I get older, I dislike winter even more. Between my arthritis, and having to bundle up and then driving in it? Oh, no…it’s for the birds. BUT most birds fly south for the winter as do some of us. In Florida, we are called Snowbirds–but that’s a topic for another article.
Often, when snowstorms hit, the power usually will go out too, and having an emergency plan is always good to have. Make sure your pantry is stocked with plenty of foods that don’t need to be cooked or refrigerated. Don’t worry that you have too much. In this case, more is better!!! AND do not forget water! One never knows how much we rely on the water until we don’t have it. Even if you don’t like water, stock up on it. It’ll never go bad!!
It’s also time to re-stock your emergency kit or get one put together. There’s nothing worse than a blizzard going on outside, and you have no batteries for your lantern or flashlights. Speaking of flashlights, check that they work as well as the batteries. Always have a stock of batteries. Have extra blankets for those super cold nights. Also include a battery-operated radio, so that you can stay on top of the weather. Be sure to re-stock/add band-aids, aspirin/Tylenol/ibuprofen.
Try to have some extra of your medicine in case you can’t get out to the drug store. Often, stores shut down during blizzards. If you know ahead of time about the snowstorm heading your way, make sure to get to your drug store to pick up some extra meds.
Make sure your cell phone/tablet/laptop is fully charged. Investing in a battery bar is a good idea. If your phone runs out of juice, you’ll be glad you bought that battery bar. You can pick them up pretty much at any store, and they’re pretty inexpensive too. But do keep in mind, you may get what you pay for. I try to stick with those in the middle of the price range. So far, it’s not been a decision I’ve regretted.
Call to check up on your friends to ensure that they are OK. Remember to keep those calls short, though. You’ll want to save your cell phone battery for as long as you can.
Dress warmly. Lay clothes out that you can put on or take off. Thermal underwear doesn’t hurt either. You must keep warm. Being 50 and over, we don’t handle the cold well and are more apt to hypothermia. Gloves and mittens–heck pack one of each in your emergency kit. I promise you; you’ll be happy you did.
What About Your Home??
Of course, preparing your home for winter should be done before a storm hits. Not likely you’ll be able to once the storm arrives. Nor would one want to. In my opinion, everyone should do these things before winter comes. If you live in an apartment, your list won’t be as long, but still, prepare yourself. So much better safe than sorry! Many winter hazards can be prevented if you plan ahead of time. Simple as that.
Get those storm windows out! Install them yourself, or get someone to do it for you. You don’t realize the difference they can make, till you don’t have them installed. They not only keep those cold winter temps out, but it helps with your energy bill. Some of our health issues, as well as some medicines we take, make it hard for us to keep our body temperature up; therefore, many of us, almost always feel cold.
If you have to pay a neighbor to install your storm windows-do so, hopefully, you can get a family member to do so, without charge. And I’d do this no later than the end of September. Sooner than that, if you live in colder climates. And if you have no storm windows, have someone help you put up the window kit, that contains plastic, made to be put over your windows. They are fairly inexpensive. Not only do they keep those cold drafts out of your home–keeping your home warm, but also can help lower your energy costs. If you live in an older home or apartment, often windows have drafts, the plastic window kits work wonders!
Make sure your gutters are cleaned, as well as your chimney (if you have one). If you can’t tend to these chores yourself, hire someone to do these things for you. Or perhaps a son or grandson. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to have your roof checked. Just as a precaution.
If you have a water hose outside, it’s time to take it off. Wrap it up and store it till Spring. If your water pipes are exposed outside, you might want to consider getting them re-wrapped with insulation. Or better yet, turn the water off. It’s not like you’ll be watering your flowers, or cleaning your car in the middle of January.
Try to get snow removal, etc. set up before winter hits. Ask a neighbor or neighborhood teen. See if they’d shovel for you, at a price, of course. Or maybe swap, baking a cake or cookies, not only entices someone to shovel, but it also makes it smell good and warm in your home as well. Some services provide snow removal. If you’re on a tight budget, check with your church, see if anyone is offering to do snow removal. And if not, I think it’s time to put one in place, don’t you? Especially for their senior, disabled, and pregnant parishioners. Don’t forget the ice melt either!
PS: a quick note, do not forget about your car. Many places offer a “Winterizing Your Car” services, and some do offer senior discounts! You don’t want to get stranded in 30-degree weather.
Staying Healthy During the Winter
Frostbite and hypothermia are why you must dress warmly. You must dress warmly for the winter. When inside, dress in layers. When you go outside, dress in layers too, add a warm coat, don’t forget the thick socks, hat, scarf, and gloves. Another reason winter isn’t my favorite season. You have to put on all of these things, and it makes running out the door, a little more time-consuming, but it is so crucial to do!
Avoiding a fall outside should be at the top of your list. Fallin is the number one reason why 50 and over folks, tend to wind up in the hospital during winter months. And we often face significant complications from a fall. You don’t want to spend the winter recovering from a broken hip. It is NOT fun.
Be sure that your boots/shoes have excellent traction. If they are worn out, it’s time to replace them. Maybe an early Christmas present for yourself! Or check out Goodwill. And when you come in from outside, take those wet shoes off as soon as possible. You don’t want to fall inside because your shoes are slippery from being damp and slushy.
Eat properly. That’s so much easier said than done, so be sure to take supplements as well. As we age, or when specific health issues set in, our immune system becomes weaker. The right kind of foods and supplements can help us make our immune system stronger. If, for some reason, the medicines you take suppress your immune system, as I stated in my “REMINDER: Get Your Flu Shot” article, always wash your hands, especially after going out in public. Avoid being around anyone that is sick, and always keep your home clean. Oh, and get that flu shot!! (smiles)
How to Stay Active in the Winter
During the winter months, long nights and short days, depression can often set in. Some call it the winter blues. To me, it is not the same. The winter blues are like having cabin fever. Depression can often set in because we tend to be less active in the winter. But you don’t have to become a hermit.
Being inactive only hurts you. Your muscles break down, making it difficult to get around. Your stamina dwindles, and you’re much more prone to falling. Even if you do some exercises at home that strengthen, you are better off than doing nothing at all.
Check out YouTube for any videos on exercising. If you have internet access, you have no excuse to be inactive.
Socializing is a great way to stay active. Get a car full of ladies and/or men and head to the mall. You can meet at the food court, have some lunch or dinner. Visit, gossip, and laugh!! Enjoy yourselves. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying yourself!! After eating and visiting, it is time for some mall walking!!! Yes, I said mall walking.
I remember making fun of them when I was younger, but when I first got my Fitbit, guess where I went walking? The mall. I became a mall walker. But, I was staying active, and that’s what was necessary. Exercising has more benefits than I realized. Besides getting you to move, it boosts the brain! Who doesn’t need a boost to their brain? I know I do!!! LOL
Get a group of your friends and head up to the VFW, or American Legion, or church, and play some bingo! You are socializing and possibly winning some money too!!!
When school is called off, have the grandkids come over and cook!!! Or cook before they come over, so they have sweets to eat while visiting grandma and grandpa. Cooking gets you on your feet! You’re being active!! And your home will smell so good!
Join a gym; some offer classes specifically for us seniors. Or start one in your community that you can hold at your apartments clubhouse, or possibly at your church. Check into a water aerobics class!!! I love water aerobics, and my arthritis loves it even more. It is so helpful to have a water aerobics class; it helps you to remain as mobile as you can. It can slow down the progression of some arthritis, ‘too. And you get to socialize!!
If you’re not crazy about winter or getting out in the cold, let alone having to drive in it, have a group of ladies come over to your house, and remind them to bring their crochet needles or knitting needles. It doesn’t have to be anything special and ask each to bring a snack. Heck, a bag of chips even & you’ll supply the soft drinks, or wine, or whatever. (wink, wink) How about a book club?
Guys, I did not forget you; get the fellows together for a poker game!! No cigar smoking, please. (optional, lol). Maybe you have a pool table in your garage or basement…shoot some pool. Or get a dartboard. Socializing is just as important as staying active.
Do you know what is also a great idea? Winter is such a dull season unless you’re one that enjoys the cold. Anyways, what about checking into your family tree? Yes, begin your genealogy journey! Start with making your family tree. I did this, and I connected with family I vaguely remember! I knew one set of my grandparents were from Ireland and Italy, but I learned what cities and villages that they lived in. I even got pictures of my mother, with her parents, and she looked to be Around 7. It was a remarkable journey for me. Ancestry.com was the only one around when I did mine, and they do charge, but twice a year they offer a 2-week trial for free. Today, there are a few others, but my experience is only with Ancestry. It is something that you can share with your children and grandchildren. Family trees make unique gifts/presents.
Start an indoor herb garden. Nothing better than cooking with fresh herbs!! Believe it or not, it is very relaxing. And it keeps you busy. Because once you see your herbs grow, well, then you’ll start looking for new recipes to use your fresh herbs in. They are a fantastic addition to add to gift baskets! Maybe one of your grandkids or great-grandkids has just rented their first apartment or bought a home. A basket with kitchen linen, cooking utensils, and grandmas/grandpas freshly grown herbs makes for an awesome house-warming gift!
Gather a couple of friends and have a game night! Or play some pools or darts. This can be done weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly! We go dancing!! I love dancing!!!
Check out community classes or activities. That’s where I found my water aerobics class. Or start you a league.
As long as you continue to do activities that you enjoy doing, you’ll stay active. And your chances of becoming depressed will be less likely as well. Look for new ideas, you may be a senior citizen, but you still have a lot of living to do!
And if All Else Fails
If you can afford it, you and your loved one can getaway. Take a vacation!! If you work, maybe just a weekend. If you are already retired, then you can choose for how long! Go where you honeymooned. Or possibly to somewhere you’ve always dreamed of as a couple. I hear shopping in Paris is quite the experience. Check out my “The Most Sought Out Destinations” article. It includes some of the most desirable locations for us baby boomers!!! You have the time now, and if you have the means, then why are you on the couch watching another episode of 20/20???
You can prevent many winter hazards by planning ahead of time. And doing so, before winter arrives and the temps drop. Have a safe and healthy winter, my friends. The holidays will soon be upon us, and we want to be around those we love and hold so dear, so take care of you!!!
AND if you have any tips/ideas, I’d love for you to share them in the comments below so that I can add them to this article!