Staying Healthy During Ontario’s Winter Months
The number of seniors in Ontario is growing at a rapid rate as baby boomers reach their golden years. All the extra seniors couldn’t come at a worse time for Ontario’s public health system, which is faced with a record deficit in 2010. The government has already warned hospitals to expect no increase in funding, a 1% increase in funding, or a 2% increase in funding. This is bad news for hospitals, who expect to see their expenses go up by at least 3 – 3.5%, leaving a significant funding gap that would affect the services that they can provide. Where might a reduction in hospital services leave Ontario’s seniors, who in general require more health care than the average younger Canadian?
Seniors and their caretakers should take preventative measures to keep themselves from landing in the hospital in the first place. Especially as winter weather sets in, seniors should be especially vigilant to stay healthy.
Seniors need to stay plenty warm. Although “catching a chill” is technically not a cause of illness and is supposed to be an old wives’ tale, as it turns out the old wives knew what they were talking about. A drafty or cold home can lead to a drop in the body’s natural temperature, and for people with a compromised immune system – which includes the elderly – a lower temperature translates into a lower resistance against germs.
Keep in mind that older homes, which seniors inhabit disproportionately, are notorious for being drafty and cold. If you yourself or an elderly relative lives in a cool, drafty home, but are unwilling or unable to pay for higher heating costs, it might be time to consider weatherizing your home. A few upgrades to windows and additional insulation can make a world of difference in a home’s ability to hold heat in the winter.
By staying warm, staying active by walking or engaging in other non-strenuous exercise, and keeping a healthy diet filled with as many fresh, vitamin-rich foods as possible, seniors in Ontario can stay healthy this winter, and stay away from an Ontario hospital system in crisis