No matter where you live in the United States, winter brings new changes to the outside environment around you, sometimes causing your senior to give up or reduce some activities that are a key part of her happiness.
Giving up some of the things that bring enjoyment can lead some seniors into a depressive state and can go as far as ushering them into full-blown depression.
Whether it’s simply a case of the blues or whether it’s a diagnosed case of depression, let’s look at some of the causes and what options there are to provide solutions that will help your senior cope with them.
- Loss of daylight hours
As the earth changes the tilt of its axis, daylight hours begin to wane in the winter months, growing shorter and shorter until the shortest daylight hours in a day on Dec 21. This can cause several things to happen to your aging parent that may result in a depressive state. If your aging parent is still driving, she may not like driving after dark. This will limit the activities she can drive herself to and from. Consider finding a driver for her like an elder care professional or a neighbor to help her get to the activities she still enjoys.
Lack of daylight also means less sunshine, known to be a mood elevator in many. Exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin boosts mood and helps reduce anxiety. When possible, encourage your elderly parent to get out every day, even if just for a few minutes to soak up some of that healing sunshine. This can even be built into her everyday routine with the help of an elder care provider.
Finally, loss of daylight can cause your senior parent to want to sleep more. While going to bed a bit earlier in the winter months isn’t troublesome, it becomes a problem when your parent is spending too much time in bed. Help your parent set a schedule that requires a set waking and retiring time each day if possible. If getting up is a problem, perhaps have your eldercare professional come over in the morning to make sure your parent is up, dressed and ready to face the day.
- Colder temps
As the wind blows and the temperature drops, it can sometimes be hard to enjoy some of the things your parent enjoyed in warmer months. Help your parent come up with activities and even foods that are associated with winter months to enjoy. Maybe buy some delicious hot tea for sitting around the fireplace or get a warm blanket out and a good book to read as your parent snuggles in for the night. Winter can also be a great time to start up a puzzle or have some game nights. See if your elder care professional can spend some time each week in these type of activities with your parent to keep her mind active even on the coldest, darkest days.
- Dangerous outdoor conditions
Depending on where you live, winter months can bring snowdrifts, icy sidewalks, or endless rainy days. It can bring bone-chilling winds and slick roads. These things can create fearfulness in your elderly parent about going out. While you need to encourage smart decision making about when it’s safe to go out and about, you can also help by having an elder care professional provide rides and an arm to hang onto when your senior needs to venture out.
Some simple steps and help from an elder care professional can help alleviate the winter blues and some of the depressing feelings that can come along with it. As always, if you think these feelings are more than the simple blues, seek professional help with a doctor to make sure your parent gets the treatment she needs. Then, as your elderly parent’s caregiver, you can work with her elder care professional to manage the obstacles listed above.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care in Bala Cynwyd, PA, please talk to the caring staff at Better Care Home Health Services LLC today. Serving individuals and their families in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks counties. Call Today: (267) 766-5218
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