Brrrr, It’s Still Cold Outside


Living in the Midwest there are certain things that you learn to love and others you learn to live with. One that certainly falls into the category of learning to live with is the weather. How many times have you heard the line, if you don’t like the weather just wait and it will be different?

Just this month at SeniorCare Homes seen multiple examples of this in the form of weather that brings sun and blue skies followed by gray days and below freezing temperatures. One day it’s short sleeves and no coat and the next it’s multiple layers of clothing, worn inside and out. When you’re ready for spring this kind of swing is not only annoying, it’s also confusing. Perhaps, it’s good we’re not forecasting the weather!

Dressing for Cool, Cold and Downright Frigid

Considering these temperature swings leave weather forecasters scratching their collective heads, what are the rest of us supposed to think? While some are particularly verbal about these annoying temperature shifts, those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are less likely to register these quick changes and be able to respond safely as a result.

Rules of Thumb for Temps below 60° (Inside and Outside)

1. Choose light breathable layers on the top and bottom

A vest or fleece jacket over a long-sleeve or turtleneck shirt can help keep the core body temperature warmer, yet leave the necessary room for mobility. For the legs, choose silk or long underwear or a pair of fleece-lined exercise pants. These provide the comfort of sweatpants without unnecessary bulk around the legs that could cause a tripping hazard.

2. Monitor the use of external heating devices

While a heating pad, hot water, or electric mattress cover or blanket will cut the chill during the cold weather, they can also be a fast-track to a burn. Skin that’s thinning because of aging or medication can burn quickly. Plus, slowly responding neuros can keep the HOT! message from reaching from the extremities to the brain. Instead, consider briefly warming sheets and blankets with an external warming device or pop a throw blanket into the dryer for a couple of minutes to create a comforting warmth. Test the surface first though to make sure it’s not too hot.

3. The Ouch Factor of Dry Air

While we might complain about the humidity in the Midwest during the summer, the lack of moisture in the winter months causes its own problems. Dry air translates into dry skin and the potential of nasty shocks when electricity builds up. Cool mist humidifiers and vaporizers can be a great way to add back in some of the lost moisture. At bath time, keep the water temperature warm, not hot, as to avoid striping the body’s natural oils. Follow bath time and hand washing with a liberal coat of body lotion to seal in the moisture.

According to the Groundhog’s word, spring is now less than 6 weeks away, so until that time, layer up and stay warm inside. SeniorCare Homes in Overland Park and Leawood, Kansas, offer the most comfortable and stable assisted living environment to seniors with dementia, memory loss, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Phone (913) 236-0036 to learn more about neighborhood living for the memory impaired.