Travelling during the winter season can be challenging for people of all ages due to the cold weather. The risks faced by older adults are greater because aging lowers the body’s ability to withstand longer durations of cold temperatures. As a result, seniors are more likely to develop hypothermia which causes a dangerous drop in body temperature. Besides, certain prevailing health conditions and medications also impact the ability of the body to sense cold causing health hazards.
Yet, winter travel can be exciting for seniors who love snow, related sports and also the attractive festivities it brings along. They may also need to travel to fulfill certain societal obligations or meet their family and friends. Altering social engagements due to inclement weather conditions may not be a promising idea as it is detrimental to the mental well-being of elders. Rather it is advisable to engage them actively and providing meaningful engagements.
Winter Vacation Safety Tips
- Check the winter weather forecast much ahead before you travel. Seniors who choose to travel long distances by flights should leave a little early as possible for avoiding delays, cancellations and stranding at the airports. Contingency planning must be made to combat weather disruptions including heavy storms, snowfall and landslides.
- Make reservations for accommodations well in advance if you are not planning to stay in the homes of family and friends during the vacation. There must be flexibility to cancel the bookings or alter the dates if the travelling plans change.
- Keep all electronic devices charged to ensure connectivity and communication with the external world. This helps in interacting with family members and receiving weather updates, news alerts and updated real-time schedules of transportation used for travelling.
- Pack wisely ensuring all the essential commodities including medications, health records, identification and travel documents, emergency contact numbers, dietary supplements, healthy foods, drinking water, spectacles/contact lens, extra clothes including winter wear, necessary gadgets like mobility aids and medical wearables.
- Purchase Travel Insurance which provides coverage for travel delays, connection/communication link failures and provides 24/7 assistance services for addressing travel and accommodation concerns.
- Vaccination for senior citizens is strongly recommended for winter travel to prevent common infections like seasonal flu, allergies and fever. Elders are more susceptible to seasonal attacks of bacteria and viruses as their immunity is low. Vaccinations safeguard their health against dangerous diseases that can cause life-threatening consequences and even fatality.
Senior Safety Tips
- Elders should ensure that they keep themselves warm and comfortable to prevent hypothermia. If there are any symptoms of shivering, abnormal exhaustion, pale skin, mental confusion or decreased breathing and heart rate, they must seek medical attention immediately.
- Seniors must take sufficient precautions to prevent falls, trips and injuries. The presence of snow and ice increases this danger which may cause immobility in elders and lead to further health complications. Along with family members, they must take steps to remove obstacles and potential hazards. Elders with mobility constraints may also use walking aids for safety like walkers and wheelchairs.
- Staying indoors for longer durations in winter though advisable does have a negative impact on the senior’s mental health. Wintertime depression must be avoided by carefully choosing engagement activities and interacting using alternative social outlets.
- During winters, there is limited exposure to sunlight inhibiting the production of Vitamin D in the body. Hence older adults must consume a variety of foods that are enriched with mineral and vitamin supplements like milk, vegetables, fruits and grains.
- There is a greater possibility of encountering emergencies in winter due to snowfalls and power outages. Elders must be equipped sufficiently to handle it.
Ensuring safe and healthy travel for seniors makes winter journeys enjoyable and memorable.