When the weather turns colder, it’s easy to stay cooped up inside your own home, warm and cozy. Even running necessary errands like grocery shopping can fall by the wayside when you don’t feel like braving the bitter cold. The winter months can be hard on people of all ages, and that’s especially true for elderly adults. Seniors are more susceptible to illness and infection when the temperatures dip, and are also at risk of falls and accidents on the ice.Even more than the physical hardships cold weather brings upon the elderly, though, is the emotional aspect. Seniors who live in assisted living homes may find family members visiting them less often in the winter months, leading to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and even depression. If your elderly loved one is facing isolation this winter, here are some steps you can take to help stave off their loneliness:
- Visit frequently. Try to schedule regular visits as often as possible, even if you don’t live close and it may be inconvenient. Many seniors look forward to family visits, so try to plan a few events throughout the winter months to enjoy a family dinner and some good conversation. At the very least, call or email your loved one frequently to stay in touch.
- Utilize technology. Learning programs like Skype and video chatting gives seniors a way to stay in touch with friends and family no matter how far away they may be. Even if an in-person visit isn’t possible, the use of today’s personal communication technologies makes it possible to have face-to-face conversations. If your elderly loved one isn’t particularly tech-savvy, take the extra time to visit them in person and walk them through how to use this important technology. It could make a world of difference in their lives!
- Encourage daily exercise. This one may not be as obvious, but a few minutes of physical activity every day can help improve an aging adult’s mood and ward off depression. Plus, exercise helps increase their mobility and can lessen the risk for falls. Talk to your loved one about participating in any exercise sessions or aerobics classes that may be offered at their assisted living home.
It can be tempting to stay inside most days during the winter months and forgo any trips. For the sake of the aging senior in your life, please make an extra effort to visit or stay in contact as much as possible. Their emotional and mental health depends on it!