Winter can be a difficult time for anyone, due to the cloudy days, wet weather, and cold temperatures that typically accompany the season. However, these issues are oftentimes more severe for seniors. Moods can so quickly fall during a rainy winter in San Francisco, which is why it's essential for seniors to do all they can to combat the winter blues. Thankfully, there are a myriad of useful tips that help to facilitate better moods and an increase in happiness.
Why Winter Weather is Extra Difficult for Seniors
For seniors, winter weather is extra difficult than it is for people who are young and more able bodied, though this is mitigated somewhat when making use of a home caregiver. The cold and wet winter weather in the San Francisco Bay Area can really put a damper on the moods of older people. There are a number of reasons as to why, the most obvious of which is simply because the cloudy and gray skies automatically put a damper on anyone's mood.
Colder temperatures can worsen chronic pain conditions to the point where it can simply be difficult to get comfortable at all. This can have a debilitating effect on seniors who already have limited mobility. It's also important to understand that having to stay indoors on a more consistent basis creates feelings of isolation and loneliness that aren't nearly as big of an issue during other times of the year. This is just a small sample of the many reasons as to why winter weather is extra difficult for seniors. Additional factors include:
Seniors are likely to exercise less frequently during this season
Over-eating for comfort is common
The bad weather leads to a more sedentary lifestyle, which exacerbates medical conditions
Isolation from being indoors leads to less social time
The cold weather affects medical ailments and can make it difficult to sleep
Common symptoms that point towards the onset of the winter blues include sadness, tiredness, and fatigue. To combat the effects that this season may have, make sure to practice some of the following tips.
Exercise is an essential component to a person’s happiness. Even light walking 30 minutes per day for five days a week will assist greatly in the reduction of feelings of mild to moderate depression. Walking at a fast pace for 60 minutes a day around three times per week will also help with this, but it will depend on the senior’s capabilities. A home caregiver or family member can offer assistance. It's recommended that seniors at least attempt to exercise outdoors during days when it's sunny.
Bright light, in general, has been found to improve mental health, reduce depressive symptoms, and help with social functioning. If support is needed, exercise can even be done alongside a home caregiver. For seniors who can't get outside, consider working out indoors. While this isn't quite as beneficial as as exercising outdoors, it can still lessen mild depression during the winter season.
Listen to Music
Studies have shown that listening to upbeat music on a regular basis can do wonders for a person’s mood. These benefits apply both in the short term and long term. During the cold and wet winter months, it can be difficult to get outside. Because of this, it's essential that seniors find activities that can keep them energized and happy. Listening to music is an easy activity that can be done alone or with others. It may even inspire some dancing! Either way, it's an activity that will help combat the winter blues.
It's important that senior s are able to get out of their home as much as possible during the winter months, even if this can only happen on occasion. There are many wonderful ways to volunteer throughout the winter season, from handing out toys to children that are in need to volunteering at a soup kitchen. For those who are able bodied, these activities can be done by both the senior and their home caregiver. Volunteering throughout the winter season will provide an emotional boost that may be needed when experiencing feelings of loneliness and depression. For seniors who are homebound, sending care packages to children in need is also a great way to volunteer.
Engage in Social Activities
As touched upon in the last tip, getting out of the house can really help boost a person’s happiness during the cold months of winter. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are many social activities that seniors can participate in. These activities include everything from going out to eat with an old friend to bowling. Keeping a relatively packed social calendar during the winter season can provide a much needed boost of energy. A home caregiver can help facilitate outings and social time with friends and family members.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Colder temperatures and dark, cloudy days have the unfortunate effect of causing many people to crave unhealthy foods and carbohydrates. Eating too much food can have negative effects, such as weight gain, which only serves to increase feelings of sadness and depression. Eating a healthy diet that's balanced with a good amount of exercise will keep spirits up and assist in combating the winter blues. Soups that are high in protein and vegetables are some of the most important foods for seniors because they are both nutritional and warming on cold days.
Chase Away Those Winter Blues!
By following each of the aforementioned tips, seniors will be able to effectively reduce and even eliminate the adverse emotional effects caused by winter. These solutions are more readily tackled with the assistance of home caregiving. Home care allows seniors to maintain a sense of independence and allows them to maintain familiar routines. Exercising, volunteering, and partaking in regular social activities are easier to accomplish when a home caregiver is helping with these tasks.
If you have questions about home care, get in touch with Alegre Home Care today!