At Senior HelpersⓇ, we focus on providing companionship and care to senior loved ones. In terms of emotional needs, many experience changes in their mood, and those in Northern Hemisphere can even suffer a deficiency of Vitamin D. Less sunlight means there is less Vitamin D in the body, and some believe this contributes to SAD (Seasonal Depression).
Even if the person over the age of 65 that you partner with does not experience clinical depression, it is common for many to experience low-grade depression or emotional changes. Luckily, there are ways to combat it and transition smoothly into winter.
1. Adjust your sleep habits leading up to November 6th
As the maxim goes, "Fall back; spring forward." In November, the time will change when people set their clocks back by one hour. The fall change is more subtle than the spring one, but it means people will gain an hour of sleep.
Incidentally, getting too much sleep can make people feel groggy. For people who follow routine sleep schedules, the small difference can unsettle them. The body's Circadian rhythm, or natural biological marker of time, can become disrupted by changes in sleep.
Avoid disrupting one's Circadian Rhythm by going to sleep a little bit later each night leading up to November 6th.
2. Watch for feelings of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD
Daylight Savings Time is a reminder to watch for changes in mood and energy level. During winter, people can experience depression for many reasons, including being cooped up indoors. They may not be able to do the outside activities that they relied on for mood regulation, like walking outside. To combat this, try exercising at an indoor mall or even a gym. Many gyms have senior discounts. Encourage clients to speak to their doctor if the feelings persist.
3. Help your senior remain connected
Cold weather can be a deterrent, but they will still want company. Many people can wind up isolated by the weather. If possible, make sure the senior attends local social gatherings and organizations. They can still spend time indoors with others in their communities. It is often easier for people to spend time together at group functions rather than trying to visit all their friends in inclement weather. If your senior is having trouble with loneliness and has fewer visitors, then suggest they attend community events that appeal to them.
4. Help them set their clocks
Many seniors still have analog clocks and love antiques. If the seniors you work with have clocks, then make a fuss about them and ask about how they reset them. Some seniors even have very old-fashioned clocks that must be wound manually. Ask them about their clocks and how they work. They will often appreciate someone taking an interest in things they find unique.
Some seniors will have phones that automatically adjust for the time, but make sure the rest of their clocks are caught up.
5. Plan more activities for winter evenings
When the clocks fall back, there's more time to occupy in the evenings. Do some research and look up programs that air later on television. Or, suggest your senior loved one watches their favorite prerecorded programs later at night. If they enjoy reading, then recommend a favorite book or that they catch up on their reading list.
About Our Chicago Office
We know that Chicago and Cook County, IL have a reputation for some brutal winds and lakeside gusts. Evanston and Chicago still have plenty of local activities for seniors and places to explore indoors. Contact us today for some suggestions.