The greyer skies, falling leaves and chill in the air can mean only one thing – winter is on its way, bringing with it a raft of runny noses, incessant sneezing, and a raft of other unwanted illnesses.

Though Australia is spared the bitingly cold temperatures that can freeze lakes and close highways, it can still affect the population in a number of negative ways, especially those in senior living. Here are a few ways to shield yourself from the oncoming winter, so that you'll be as safe as possible from the numerous challenges that the cold season can bring as the mercury plummets.

Wrap up warm

Of course, one of the biggest obstacles that winter can present is that of keeping warm. The cold temperatures put your immune system at a disadvantage against the onslaught of winter illnesses, and, in extreme circumstances, senior citizens may develop hypothermia, meaning that your body temperature is far below what it should be. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention states that over half of hypothermia-related deaths affected those above the age of 65 – even in Australia, no chances should be taken.

To keep warm, turn that thermostat up a notch, light a fire if you have one, and dress warmly, even inside. If you're venturing outdoors, throw on even more layers – scarves, woolly hats, gloves and winter jackets are the order of the day!

Get your jab in

Old age brings with it the natural deterioration of our body's defence system. Therefore, it's important that we give it all the help we can as the winds of winter howl in.

We can start by receiving a flu jab that will stave off illness which thrives in such temperatures. Flu can have serious consequences – especially among the elderly – it accounted for more than 13,500 hospitalisations and, sadly, 3,000 deaths in Aussies aged 50 and above. 

If you're over the age of 65, you can receive your flu immunisation for free via the Immunise Australia Program, so don't delay, get your jab in today!

FAQ: How can those in senior living protect themselves from the cold?