Hypothermia, pneumonia, and injuries from falls are just a few of the concerns senior citizens may have during this time of the year.

While we may not be able to avoid the colder weather and the poor conditions that come with it, Jessica Cooper, the Senior Service Navigator at Sentara Martha Jefferson, says there are some ways to avoid staying out of the hospital.

Staying hydrated, washing your hands frequently and staying away from others who are sick are good ways to avoid a trip to the doctor.

Cooper says it is best to stay out of the hospital if possible.

"Seniors aren't up and out of bed and moving as much, so they lose their muscle tone,” Cooper said. “They're not engaging in the things they normally do, so their health can decline just by being in the hospital."

Have road salt on hand to prepare sidewalks that may become slippery, and make sure the bottoms of your shoes and of your walkers and canes are non-slip to decrease the chances falling.

It is also important to make sure you are staying warm and layering up.

"Thinner layers are better than one thick layer. So, like three layers of thinner clothes,” Cooper said. “Make sure you wear scarfs, hats, mittens. Cover any part of the body you can when you go outside. And even when you're inside as well, you want to make sure you dress warmly."

Staying warm can be expensive during this time of year, but there are options to ensure you are living comfortably and staying healthy.

"There's fuel assistance through the county. You can check with your social services,” Cooper said. “Sometimes you can check with your energy provider, like your electric company. They have programs where they can put you on a payment plan or make your home more efficient."

Now that winter is officially here, make sure to have a plan for keeping these things in mind to stay healthy this season. For more information on senior services at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, check the Related Links box.