9 Elderly Care Tips To Make the Adjustment To Cold Weather Easier

For those who can get out and about, autumn is a beautiful time. Plus, the mild temperatures can make activities even more enjoyable. But for those who require walkers, wheelchairs, caregivers or other elderly care to go places, autumn can also lower ones spirits. It may also result in an unhealthy amount of inactivity.

Regardless of your age, “autumn blues”  are common, especially when cold Chicago winters follow.  If you are providing elderly care, here are few challenges your senior loved may face and some possible solutions that will make the transition to colder weather a bit easier.

Cool Temperatures Can Seriously Affect The Elderly

Younger people are often invigorated by chilly temperatures, but many elderly can’t move enough to build up body heat. They tend to get chilled more easily due to inactivity or the impact of certain medications. Moving around may also be more difficult and painful due to stiffening joints. As Dr. Steven Graff-Radford, program director at the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says, “Anything cold causes muscles, ligaments and tendons to sort of tighten up, and that makes them stiffer.”

The home of your elderly loved one should be the first to have functioning storm windows and the thermostat should be set to keep the chill out. Make sure blankets and sweaters are handy. Effective elderly care also includes making sure your senior loved one dresses appropriately when preparing to go outside. Even if the car is warmed up, the walk to the car can be chilling.

Cool, Gray, Shorter Days Can Be Depressing

You may wish you had the time to snuggle into bed or on a sofa, watch TV, or take a nap, but seniors may not look forward to doing that any more than they already have done all summer. As the days get shorter and colder, fewer outings and less physical activity can have negative effects, both physically and emotionally. Digestive systems and muscle tone both suffer from inactivity, which can lead to a grumpy disposition and the need for more physical assistance. Plus, the anticipation of a long, dark, and dull winter, being stuck in the house, can make seniors feel more isolated and lonely  The thought of this can all too often create a mood that lends itself to focusing on all that is negative about their circumstance.

Here are 9 Elderly Care Tips You Can Implement To Help Make The Days Seem Longer And More Cheerful

  1. Make sure the drapes are opened at sunrise allowing stimulating daylight to enter your loved one’s room.
  2. Position your loved one where they can see out windows, and let as much daylight in as possible.
  3. Consider placing bird feeders outside the window to provide a lively view.
  4. Check the hue and brightness of the lights in your loved one’s home. Dim yellowish lighting can feel too cave-like and dreary.
  5. Remind family, especially grandchildren, to call or visit. Grandparents can feel especially lonely when kids get busy with school. A simple, short call telling about something you did or a joke you heard, can make a loved one feel remembered and connected. And if for any reason conversations seem not to come easily, or just come to a stall, ask a question about a love or interest of theirs and then just sit back and listen!
  6. Play cheerful music for your loved one.
  7. Many seniors look ahead and worry early about the holiday season. You can relieve their anxiety by making sure they know that someone will help them with shopping for holiday gifts. This can be several short trips to different stores scattered over the coming weeks. If your senior can’t get out at all, doing the gift shopping yourself allows them to join in the holidays without having the focus placed on their physical limitations.
  8. Take your loved one out as much as possible, even if it’s only for ten minutes in the sunshine, or to ride along in a warm car and chat with you while you run errands.
  9. Encourage your loved one to be as active as possible within the home, doing stretches, deep breaths, and moving around–even light physical activity can help improve mind and body functions.

A New Friendly Face Can Dispel The Gloom

If you have trouble finding enough time to engage your senior and keep their spirits up, or if you run out of ways to keep your relationship interesting, bringing in another person to help out can often spark a positive mood. Even if for only a few hours a week, it can make a big difference for both you and your loved one. A professional caregiver can change the home dynamic with fresh conversation, a new perspective, and their experience in handling all sorts of things, both large and small. They can also serve as a confidant for concerns and worries a senior may not be comfortable sharing otherwise.

At Home & Hearth Caregivers, our mission is to assist people in the autumn of their life. Our goal is always to bring to your home as much grace, cheer, comfort, and peace of mind as possible. Contact us for for additional home care tips and any elderly care assistance that you may need.

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