The holiday season is often filled with laughter, food, friends and family; however, for many of our senior citizens it is a melancholy time of year where they long for the companionship of a lost loved one and/or suffer from the “Winter Blues”. For those who are not lucky enough to reside in a year around sunny place, the holiday season can be detrimental for their health due to the severe cold and influx of illnesses going around and their susceptibility to sickness. Here are some helpful hints to making sure your senior loved one is taken care of and stays healthy, both mentally and physically.
Activities are a great way to engage your loved one and keep their spirits high and depression at bay. Making snowflakes or cards is a great and easy activity for you and your loved one to enjoy. It’s also a lot of fun to decorate cookies during this time of year, as well as build a gingerbread house. What’s wonderful about these type of activities is they are great for both young and old. Memories that will last a life time.
This time of year is a great opportunity to put together a history of your loved one and their life. Whether you take short videos on your phone of them sharing funny stories of their childhood, how they met their partner, or what they did for their career; this is sure to be a lot of fun for both the story teller and listener.
Sure, most of the time it is the senior citizens that are getting the service from young men and women in their community; however, it’s a great time of year for seniors to help seniors. Who else is better able to understand what another senior citizen is going through, than a senior citizen?! It is always good for seniors to recognize the value they have in helping those around them, wether they are helping individuals their age or younger. Local senior centers or assisted living facilities are great places to look for opportunities, as well as hospice agencies and adult day cares.
Sounds silly but sunshine is a great natural resource for vitamin D and helps battle the “Winter Blues”. Whether it’s opening your blinds/curtains and letting sunlight in or bundling up to go outside and bask in the rays, sunshine is always a great way to boost your mood.
Exercise increases endorphins and makes for a happier and healthier individual. Even though it’s cold outside, you can still be active indoors. Find a local gym, recreational center, or see if there is a walking club at your local mall. Staying active helps keep the “Winter Blues” at bay and keeps you fit.
People tend to only concern themselves with staying hydrated during the Summer when it’s hot; however, many seniors suffer from dehydration during the Winter months because they forget to drink water. An easy solution to this, is to have your senior loved one carry a bottle of water around with them that they can easily hydrate themselves with throughout the day. In addition to that, eating fruits such as oranges and grapes keep your loved one hydrated too. Dehydration can have side effects that cause dizziness and then a fall, so ensuring your loved one stay hydrated is vital to their safety and continuing their high quality of life.
While the holiday’s and Winter months can be tough on our senior loved ones, there are simple and doable options to keep the “Winter Blues” away.
Nila Bair is a senior care consultant and marketing manager for Encompass Health. She has been empowering and educating seniors and their families for over 2 years. Her passion for senior care shines through in her commitment to providing the best care and education possible for both her residents and families. Dementia, Alzheimer’s Awareness, and Memory Care are one of her biggest platforms she wants to educate people on, as her grandmother was a victim of Alzheimer’s and her mom recently passed due to advanced vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Congestive Heart Failure.