4 Ways for Caregivers and Seniors to Beat Winter Boredom
There’s only so many games and puzzles you can do before feeling the itch of cabin fever. Many people feel cooped up in the winter months, especially on rainy, cold or snowy days. Some seniors also get a winter blues disorder known as “SAD” which stands for Seasonal Affected Disorder, which is a form of depression from the lack of sunshine. Surprisingly, many caregivers also feel more depressed in the winter months.
That good ol’ Vitamin D is less prevalent in the winter, and in Louisiana, there are more gloomy days where the sky is gray than on those wonderful days in the spring when the sun starts poking out through the clouds more frequently.
So what can caregivers and seniors do to keep occupied and be less apt to suffer from SADness, depression or boredom in winter? Try one of these four boredom-fighters in the winter:
- Find Social Groups. If you need ideas to find social gatherings to attend, try joining some social groups in your area. Whether it is a BINGO night at the Elks Lodge or participating in a church supper, having a weekly activity will give seniors and their caregivers something to look forward to. Try MEETUP.COM to find relevant groups to join. You just put in your zip code or city and then click on the activities you may be interested and voila!
- Commit to a Daily Walk or Exercise Routine. Seniors can be very routine-oriented, so start a new routine and make exercising part of it. This gives you both an opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Whether it is a walk around the park or just to the store down the street to buy a bottle of water, this could become an integral part of your day together. Commit to doing this at the same time. “Okay, it’s 10:00 so its time for our walk!” Even if your senior is bound to a wheelchair, they will enjoy taking in the sights and smells or watching children play on their street.
- Let them Volunteer. In old age, some people get depressed simply because they feel like they have no purpose after their child-rearing days have passed by. Ask your senior if they want to become a volunteer! You can help to organize a toy collection for children, or backpacks filled with school supplies, or packages to mail to soldiers, or food drives, etc. Giving back to the community makes both you and your senior feel good and gives them something positive to look forward to.
- Reach Out to Extended Family. A lot of the reason for seasonal depression can be linked to lonliness. Seniors may feel isolated, but they sometimes feel like they might be imposing on their immediate family or relatives if they call to invite them over. As a caregiver, you can make them feel special by doing the legwork for them. Call relatives who live far away and ask them to commit to visiting more often, such as a specific day every month. The relative will also not feel like they are imposing when they get a warm invitation from the caregiver, so this is a win-win for everyone. By communicating more often, both the senior and their family members can remain in close contact and enjoy one another’s company more often.
Of course, all of these ideas are contingent upon the health and wellness of the individual, but many studies reveal that time outside for seniors – or any age group – is beneficial in many ways. Boredom leads to depression, which then progresses into illnesses. Keep healthy by getting out and enjoying life!
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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can affect many people's moods during the winter. Find out more about it on CARE Inc.'s blog.
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