Healthy holidays are in sight for older adults

Expert advice from Dr. Judith Black
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The holiday season doesn't have to be a difficult time for older adults. Learn how a designated health partner can help you stay healthy and safe by following these tips:

-Designate a health partner – Consider asking a loved one to become your designated health partner. An older adult often needs a little extra care and attention during the holidays and now is a great time to ask someone. A designated health partner can be an advocate for your care and help you navigate the health care system.

>>The goal is to connect caregivers to older adults they care for in order to obtain the appropriate care so they can stay as healthy as possible.

-Think Safety First – The holidays can be a beautiful time of year, but it may also signal more snow and increased risks for weather-related incidents or slips and falls.

>>If possible, plan to talk each day at a designated time with a loved one or health partner so they know that you are safe.

>>Avoid staying outside for long periods of time to prevent hypothermia. Take frequent breaks and remember to keep exposed skin covered at all times.

>>To avoid falls, don't carry heavy packages while walking on ice or snow. Falls are a major reason seniors are admitted to the hospital and pose a threat to your independence.

>>Unless it's absolutely necessary, don't go outside. You are much safer when you stay indoors.

-Watch your diet With the holiday season approaching, it's even more important to watch your consumption of food and alcohol so you don't gain weight. Try to stay within the recommended daily allowances for consuming calories.

>>The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends between 1,600 to 2,800 depending on your gender and activity level.

-Stay active – Keep yourself active by staying committed to a fitness routine. During the holidays, those extra helpings and sweets can really add up and cause you to gain weight.

-Keep contacts close by – Keep telephone numbers and email addresses close at hand in case you need to reach your health partner or family members quickly.