If you have a loved one who is elderly, you may notice that in winter they can become less happy or generally very low. 1 in 3 people in the UK suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in winter, but even without SAD they may just feel more challenged because of loneliness, a lack of movement, the potential for falls, and memories from past celebrations like Christmas in their younger years.
It is important to recognise the signs of a low mood in your relative so that you can act quickly to help them. You may notice:
- Decreased or increased appetite
- A noticeable weight gain or weight loss
- Loss of energy
- A desire for more sleep or finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning
- Fatigue through the day
- Wanting to be alone
- Aches in the body
If your elderly relative seems to be struggling with the winter months, there are lots of things you can do to help them. Here are 5 ways to help seniors avoid the winter blues:
Physical exercise is so important as it boosts mood and helps with maintaining fitness. It can also be a really good social activity too. Exercise DVD’s at home, supported walks, walks indoors, volunteering, exercise classes and even physical chores like shopping can all be beneficial to mood.
Making the House Nicer
Decorating the house of your elderly relative may make them feel happier. If they have dementia, it is important to seek advice on how to do this without distressing them. Otherwise, you can speak to them about how brightening the home may help to make the place they spend most of their time much nicer for them.
Help Them Do Something Useful
The elderly often feel they don’t have any purpose and so helping them do a useful activity can make them feel more worthwhile in themselves. Getting them to bake for a cake sale or family event, or even volunteering could be a great way to help them feel needed.
Do Something Sociable
Socialising is such an important part of maintaining a good mood and a lack of social activity can be depressing for people of any age, although it is more likely that elderly people are lonely. Whether you encourage phone calls, Skype calls or gatherings in your home, or you take your relative to social events with people of similar age and interest, you’ll be helping their mood by keeping them socially active.
Check It Isn’t a Medical Issue
Sometimes medical issues can contribute to low mood, especially nutritional deficiencies which are common in the elderly. Do bring up mood at your relative’s next GP appointment so you can check there isn’t anything else going on to contribute to mood problems.
Do You Need Help Supporting Your Loved One Through Winter?
If you are unable to fully support your loved one in winter and feel they could benefit from extra help, why not consider homecare services? Home care services can help your loved one with personal care, mobility, activities and more.