Winter can bring a lot of joy to our lives, but once the holidays are over, many of us find that the cold and the earlier darkness can lead to a lot of loneliness in our lives, especially for older adults. The weather can also create hazardous conditions for seniors. Between the weather and this element of loneliness, we find many seniors tend to stay indoors the majority of the season.
Seasonal affective disorder and vitamin D deficiency can have damaging effects on older adults’ physical and mental health during these frigid months in Chicago. There are some things you can do to prepare for the cold and set yourself up to be a bit happier and healthier during the Winter months.
Prepare for weather, safely
Pay close attention to the weather each day and make sure you are dressing appropriately in warm layers, gloves, hats and scarves. Just as important are your shoes. Non-skid shoes or snow boots are crucial for slippery sidewalks. If you are a bit nervous going out on your own, ask a friend to join you on your walk or ask a family member to take you on your errands.
One benefit we offer our residents is weekly shopping trips and errand days to grocery stores around the city to help you get where you need to go, safely.
Daily exposure to sunlight is the most important factor in combating the Winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder. If time, physical health and weather conditions permit, it would be beneficial to go outside for a few minutes each day – preferably in the morning – to soak up some sun. Every little bit helps. Here at Thorek Retirement Home, we are fortunate to have our Heritage Garden right on site to provide our residents with a serene place to take some time outdoors any time they want.
Connect with others
In the midst of a global pandemic, we have seen our residents need regular contact with loved ones more than ever. This is even more important during the colder months when it gets more difficult to travel and when cold and flu season is at an all time high. Older adults tend to stay home more often during the Winter in order to stay safe which can take a toll on their mental health, making it more important than ever to stay connected.
Call or video chat with your family and friends as much as possible. Join a club or a gym. Here at Thorek, we have a great social calendar of events with daily opportunities to socialize. There’s sure to be something for everyone!
Stay safe this Winter and be sure to check in on your loved ones!