Beat The Winter Blues
The winter blues, formally known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is real. It often affects older adults that feel the cold more easily and don’t go outside much during the winter. SAD is a type of depression people get in the fall or winter because there is less daylight, causing a chemical reaction in the brain. But there are things seniors can do to beat the blues.
Open The Curtains And Let In The Light
When your loved one gets up every day, make sure they open all the curtains in their room or home. Let in all the winter light possible. Another way to beat winter depression is by purchasing them a SAD lamp. It uses light therapy to replicate sunlight that tricks the body into thinking it is warm, in turn the body releases the serotonin needed to prevent depression. These lamps should only be used for thirty minutes daily and are most effective in the morning. If your loved one is taking medications that make them light-sensitive, they should consult their doctor about the best SAD lamp to purchase.
Go Outside Or Bring The Outside In
The biggest concern for seniors about going outside during the winter is that they will slip and fall. There are, however, many places your loved one can visit that are safe. If they don’t want to go for a walk, take them for a drive with the family and see what the world is doing. Is limited mobility keeping your loved one inside? Bring the outside in! Let your teenagers make a video of spots their grandparents enjoy. They can bring some sand from the beach or snow from the garden.
Set A Pretty Table And Light Candles
If your loved ones are unable to go out, order food in, set a pretty table and light some candles. Is there only a small table available? Decorate it with a favorite tablecloth and other pretty items while everyone takes a seat where they can. Are there grandkids in the family? Let them make décor for the table before the visit. Some ideas are a placemat with their own drawings, a floral centerpiece or a novelty snow globe. They can also prepare some after-lunch entertainment. All grandparents love to be entertained, and laughter is definitely good for the winter blues!
Make Winter Visits More Frequent and Fun
When last did you blow bubbles with a wand? Remember how much fun it was? Make a point of inviting the family for more frequent winter visits and make it enjoyable for your senior parents, even if they are in a wheelchair or have other mobility issues. Blow bubbles together, interview each other or make slime (you will be someone’s hero!). For adults or older grandchildren, let them make a video of the visit, work on a jigsaw puzzle together, or play board games. You can assemble a model airplane with the aim of finishing it by the end of the winter.
Have Something To Care For
Everybody and everything thrives on giving and receiving love. Having something to care for, whether a plant or animal, can motivate older adults to get up on winter mornings. If your loved ones are unable to have a pet or don’t find caring for a plant interesting, find out if anyone in the area offers pet therapy. Weekly or bi-weekly sessions with a dog will bring a lot of joy without the responsibility. And it is something fun to talk about during your next visit.
UMC HomeWorks Home Care For The Elderly
A visit from our United Methodist Communities (UMC) HomeWorks caregivers might not be the same as a family visit, but they can definitely have fun by blowing bubbles with the seniors they assist. Our senior home care services include, amongst many others, skilled nursing care, medication management, disease management teaching and coaching, home safety assessments, daily living chores, and video conferencing. We also offer live-in care for older adults who need daily assistance throughout the day.