Fall Health and Wellness Tips for Seniors

Edited by Rory Clark

Autumn is an exciting time of year and a season of change, from apple picking to daylight savings time. However, Fall can pose its own set of risks, particularly those associated with senior falls, slips, and illnesses. With weather changes and holiday events on the horizon, keep these autumn wellness tips in mind. Taking such precautions can contribute to a more festive and enjoyable holiday season!

Autumn’s Top Wellness Tips

The top fall safety tips can assist you in enjoying autumn while avoiding seasonal dangers. They range from illuminating indoor living spaces to ensuring fall safety outdoors.

Due to the dwindling daylight hours in autumn, it is critical to keep the home well-lit. This can help create a safer space by reducing the likelihood of tripping or slipping.

Lighting Suggestions

The following are some wellness tips for lighting the living space and heavily trafficked areas:

  • Install nightlights in bedrooms, hallways, and other areas that require nighttime access.
  • Place an easily accessible lamp near the bed.
  • For light switches not located near entrances, create a clear, clutter-free path to the lighting device.
  • Consider replacing your existing lighting hardware with something more visible, such as illuminated, remote-controlled, or glow-in-the-dark switches.
  • Keep flashlights in easily accessible drawers and other convenient storage locations (in case of emergency).

Consult a Physician About Your Concerns

Doctors are frequently aware of seasonal allergies and other potential safety concerns worth discussing in the Fall. Consult a trusted healthcare team about any health conditions or concerns. Always inquire about the best course of action in the event of a severe illness or emergency.

Questions to Ask Professionals

Typical questions to ask and discuss with a healthcare team regarding the fall season include the following:

  • Allergies associated with specific seasons
  • Risks associated with autumn weather (such as falling on ice or slippery pavement)
  • Consequences of weather changes in terms of pain or preventative management (i.e., joint pain, wound protection, appropriate outerwear)
  • Supplements to take or dosage adjustments or medication changes (i.e., vitamin D needs in the Fall versus the summer)
  • Indoor exercises that are safe
  • Vaccinations for specific seasons (i.e., seasonal flu vaccine, Covid-19 booster)
  • Keep your skin healthy and moisturized during the Fall.
  • In the event of an emergency, point of contact.
  • How to navigate holiday eating and travel safely

Autumn is An Excellent Time to Exercise and Eat Healthfully.

Autumn’s seasonal changes and falling leaves may require adjustments to regular workout routines.

For example, outdoor and gym workouts may need to be substituted for at-home exercise to reduce risk and avoid infection or illness. Chair exercises are beneficial for those who need to exercise at home or have limited mobility.

Naturally, the fall season brings an increase in sugary treats and sweets, including everything pumpkin spice! While seasonal foods can be enjoyed, it is essential to maintain a healthy diet during the holidays.

Healthy Wellness Tips for Seniors

Concentrate on the following healthy eating and aging tips.

Concentrate on nutrient-dense foods (fewer total calories with a higher amount of nutrients)

  • Select foods from all of the ChooseMyPlate food groups.
  • Recognize protein and its role in promoting healthy aging
  • Learn about services such as Mom’s Meals and Meals on Wheels that provide and deliver balanced nutrition.

Bear in Mind Fall Footwear

Specific footwear selections can increase your risk of injury. Slippers, heels, sandals, and shoes with little or no traction are not appropriate for the Fall.

Fall is an excellent time to consider supportive footwear. The following are characteristics to look for:

  • Sturdy
  • Non-skid
  • Proper fit
  • Reduce joint discomfort (as needed)
  • Appropriate for rain or snow

Take a Look at Assistive Devices

Consider keeping assistive devices on hand, as the ground may be slippery with wet leaves. These minor adjustments can make a significant difference in terms of autumn safety.

Consider the Following Assistive Devices and Accessories

As the old adage goes, “it is preferable to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.” Several devices to consider include the following:

  • WalkersCanesWheelchair
  • Medical device backup batteries
  • In-home assistive railings Handrails for stairwells (on both sides)
  • Treads for slippery steps
  • Purchasing or installing a medical alert system

Ensure Outdoor Fall Safety

While they create an attractive autumn palette, the slick surfaces combined with fallen leaves can pose a health risk. Cleaning such outdoor walkways and paths of leaf accumulations can be time-consuming.

Depending on the severity of health problems affecting one’s energy levels or quality of life, hiring assistance may be prudent.

Fall Services That Might Be Available

Consider the following services to ensure a healthy and safe season:

  • Service for landscaping
  • Raking service regularly
  • Snow removal service
  • Service/kit for emergency preparedness
  • Taking the dog for a walk
  • Delivery of groceries
  • Physical therapists, home care nurses, and personal trainers
  • Devices that enable video communication with loved ones, healthcare professionals, and others.

Seasonal Depression: Be Aware

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that manifests itself in a seasonal pattern. SAD is most prevalent in the late autumn and early winter.

The human body responds to changes in the external environment. For some, the change in seasons can precipitate a depressive episode not present in spring or summer.

While younger people are more susceptible, older adults should be aware of the signs, symptoms, and risk factors. The following are some of the risk factors for SAD:

  • Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with SAD.
  • SAD is more common in people who live either far north or far south of the equator.
  • A family history of SAD or other forms of depression increases risk.
  • Vitamin D deficiency 

Treatment can be coordinated through a healthcare team that includes a therapist, physician, and dietitian. A dietitian can assist you in navigating the holiday season’s healthy eating, medication, and supplements that may help alleviate the effects of SAD. Seniors can improve their mental health and well-being daily by getting outside and connecting with their community.

Immune System Protection

Several factors contribute to immune system decline with age. This weakens the body’s defenses against bacteria and other deadly diseases.

In addition to the impact, aging has on all bodily systems; It can also influence the digestive system, keeping bacteria in balance. Other body systems may also experience the effects of aging, making the body more vulnerable to external threats.

It is critical to be aware of certain health conditions that may increase your risk of seasonal illness in the Fall. The following conditions may impact the immune system:

  • Illness that persists
  • Diabetes
  • ArthritissCancer
  • Cardiovascular Conditions

Certain medications can also impair the immune system; therefore, it is critical to discuss them with a healthcare professional.

Additionally, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress contribute to immune health.

Combating Household Hazards

Heating systems pose a fire hazard in the Fall. Additionally, carbon monoxide dangers increase as temperatures drop and furnaces, space heaters, and fireplaces are used.

According to experts, hiring specialists to inspect heating systems, pipes, and other devices or structures such as smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors is a good idea. Additionally, always read the instructions on heating devices (even if used previously) to ensure proper operation.

In general, the following guidelines apply to operate a heating device safely:

  • Never leave an unattended machine.
  • Maintain a minimum distance of three feet between the device and any flammable material, such as walls or curtains.
  • Solicit assistance in determining how to operate or install these devices.
  • Engage a specialist to inspect your heating system 

Planning for The Future

We answer many questions to give you peace of mind and legal measures that you can take to ensure that The Legacy Elder Law Center will take care of you and your family members. Contact us today.

These fall safety and health tips help older adults, and their loved ones have a more enjoyable season. In such a festive season, small investments in safety are well worth the more significant health benefits. And, perhaps most importantly, having peace of mind.

Apart from that, there is so much to enjoy about autumn, and protective measures make it even better!

About the author

Rory Clark

Rory has more than 30 years’ experience practicing elder law, estate planning, asset protection, Veteran’s affairs, and special needs planning. Through his personal journey, Rory not only understands the complex legal issues involved as a professional but also the intense emotional issues as a caregiver.