Helping Seniors Beat the Winter Blues

If you struggle with the “winter blues” you know how difficult it can be to make it through the holiday season. Although winter brings cheerful, festive holidays, it also means less sunlight, shorter days and colder weather. This can result in a lack of exercise, more sleep, less interest in activities, social withdrawal, unhealthy eating and a general sense of feeling down.

Medically termed seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the condition can happen at the onset of any season. However, winter depression or winter blues are the most common. What happens to a person’s mood when they lack exposure to daylight creates a domino effect. Serotonin and melatonin levels both drop significantly which causes major changes in sleep and mood—two critical components to overall health and wellness.

Seniors are especially vulnerable to winter-onset SAD. Since they are generally less active, capable and independent it can be a particularly challenging time of year to get through. When you add cold winter weather to the mix, it only makes matters worse. The result is a senior that feels lonely, isolated and depressed.

Fortunately, there are activities to help seniors battle the winter blues. Whether you’re a loved one or caregiver, here are some ideas that might help…

Get enough exercise. Cold temperatures and winter weather can sometimes make it challenging to get outside. Shopping malls are a great place to get out of the house and get moving.

Eat healthily. Winter may put us into hibernation mode which causes us to reach for the comfort foods and sweets. Find low-calorie alternatives like soups, stews, vegetables and hot teas.

Maintain social interaction. Make plans with friends and family. Volunteer and try new activities of interest. Social engagement is a health booster for sure, but during this time of year, social activities may help you enjoy the holiday season even more.

AT Home Care offers a variety of companionship services that help seniors fight off the winter blues. In-home visits consist of meal planning, housekeeping and social interaction. Our staff can also arrange social activities outside of the home, or accompany you to appointments and errands. To learn more about senior companions, call AT Home Care today.