Winter Wellness: Tips for an Active and Healthy Season
As the winter season approaches and the cold weather settles in, it’s the perfect time to plan how to stay active and healthy through these colder months. Winter can be a time to celebrate life’s simple pleasures and to get creative with how to stay motivated and connected with others. These tips will help you enjoy a safer and healthier winter season by being proactive and also highlight some cold weather-appropriate activities for seniors across our Benchmark communities.
Exercising During the Winter
During these colder months, when walking outside might not be an option, Benchmark Senior Living offers a range of indoor activities designed to help seniors stay active and engaged. Walking, a great way to maintain mobility and promote blood circulation, can be enjoyed by walking the spacious halls of the communities, hopping on a treadmill, or joining a walking group right here at Benchmark. You also have the option to use a stationary bike in the fitness room for a seated alternative.
For those seeking more gentle exercise or with physical limitations, options like seated or standing yoga, tai chi and dancing are available and accessible to all levels of mobility. Stretching is another excellent way to prevent stiffness and warm up your body and can also be comfortably performed in a chair. At Benchmark, we prioritize senior well-being and provide a variety of activities to meet every resident’s needs and levels.
Engaging in regular exercise and stretching can make a big impact in the lives of seniors, and even simple activities like walking can play a significant role in disease prevention. Studies have shown that exercise helps prevent common diseases like heart disease and diabetes while boosting overall immune function, which is a huge benefit for seniors. Exercise not only strengthens muscles and improves flexibility but also enhances balance and coordination. Maintaining physical activity and improving motor skills also helps cognitive function, and various studies have suggested a lower risk of dementia for physically active individuals, regardless of when they began a routine (NIH.gov). So let’s get moving and stay healthy this winter season!
Healthy Diet and Hydration
In these winter months, maintaining a healthy diet is essential for supporting your overall well-being. Proper nutrition not only helps support your immune system against seasonal illnesses but also provides the energy to stay physically active throughout the colder season. At Benchmark, we provide three hearty, balanced meals daily, with accommodations for special dietary restrictions or considerations. Our award-winning dining means we offer chef-prepared seasonal menus and ensure residents have access to fruits and vegetables all year round.
Staying hydrated is important not only in the summer but also during the winter months. People tend to feel less thirsty in cold weather, leading to reduced water intake (Heart.org). At Benchmark Senior Living, we prioritize hydration by having water fountains throughout our communities, as well as water stations flavored with fresh fruits. And yes; tea and coffee are readily available and contribute to your daily liquid intake as well!
Staying social and maintaining connections is key to better winter wellness. At Benchmark, we offer an incredible range of ways to interact with others, from book clubs, crafting, off-site day trips and games to educational seminars and concerts. Simply living in a Benchmark community where meals are social gatherings and there are daily interactions with staff and residents in the hallways can make all the difference in the world.
Additionally, maintaining connections with family and friends is vital. Scheduling regular calls or video chats, to handwriting writing letters, can be a powerful way to boost your emotional health and overall well-being.
Regular health check-ups and updating vaccinations are essential for senior well-being. This is especially true in the winter when there can be a struggle for reliable transportation in the inclement weather. Additionally, the winter brings with it more cases of the cold, flu and Covid 19, so prioritizing one’s health and medical appointments is even more important (WHO.org). At Benchmark Senior Living, we make this process easy for our residents, where our communities collaborate with external medical practitioners and ancillary services to coordinate on and off-site resident care. Many of our communities also offer on-site lab services provided by external medical providers.
Benchmark residents don’t need to worry about these hurdles to their healthcare. Here are some of the medical appointments they can conveniently access, thanks to our organized transportation:
- Annual wellness exams
- Routine follow-ups
- Specialist appointments
- Preventative screenings and tests
- Immunizations and vaccinations
- Medication reviews
The flu, or the influenza virus, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that spreads through coughing, talking, sneezing and contaminated surfaces. The CDC strongly recommends an annual flu vaccine for almost everyone 6 months or older, with a special emphasis on those 65 and above due to their higher risk of serious complications. This increased risk is linked to a natural decline in immune response with age, contributing to higher hospitalizations rates annually. Ideally, aim to get vaccinated by the end of October every year (CDC.gov). And at Benchmark, we make vaccinations easy for our residents by organizing on-site clinics at our communities for residents and associates. So, if you haven’t received your shot by winter, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor or a medical professional.
Another way we are committed to supporting senior wellness all winter long is through our “Operation Chicken Soup” program. When a resident is sick and staying in their room with cold or flu symptoms, our dedicated Resident Care team members will deliver a thoughtful tray of hot chicken noodle soup, crackers, ginger ale and a get-well note care directly to the residents’ rooms. It’s our thoughtful way to share cheer and promote wellness and connection during the winter season.
Benchmark Senior Living communities have trained, dedicated and compassionate associates who are committed to promoting senior wellness for a vibrant, engaged winter season. If you’d like to learn more about the wellness resources and Benchmark’s commitment to wellness, please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn how you or your loved one can thrive in a community near you.
*Some of these services may vary by community. Please check with the community’s Executive Director for specific offerings.
*Transportation must be scheduled and within the limited mile range set for the community.