Resources & Articles

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Helping the Elderly Battle the Winter Blues

by The Lisa Vogel Agency

Welcome to our fifth segment in our sponsored series on elder care, written by expert in the field, Lisa Vogel, who owns and operates The Lisa Vogel Agency.  We’re all living longer, how will you — and your parents — make the most of that extra time?

The temperature keeps dropping, the snow keeps falling, and spring is two long months away.  For older friends and relatives, the battle against the winter blues can be all the more difficult. Consider these strategies to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy until the seasons change.

Call or Visit More Often.  The bigger one’s social support network, the better.  Make that extra phone call or stop by for a quick visit to older relatives and neighbors frequently in the next few months.

Let the Sun Shine.  Open the shades and curtains to welcome even the slightest rays of sunlight into your home. Exposure to sunlight boosts the body’s production of serotonin, the brain chemical that makes you feel happier.  If the weather is particularly gloomy, there is always light therapy. High-intensity light boxes can provide an extra bit of light to brighten your day and lift your mood.


Eat the Right Foods.  Forget the usual comfort foods. Go for foods high in Vitamin B and fish oils, both of which help to create serotonin. Make healthy carbohydrate choices as well, including nuts, beans, and lots of vegetables and whole grains, which also help produce serotonin.

Move It.  Even in the smallest of spaces, there are exercises to keep blood flowing and calories burning.  For seniors, look for exercises that can be completed easily at home or walk the mall or hallways of your residential living facility.

Meditate.   Inhale, hold it, exhale.  Try a daily dose of meditation through a series of deep breathing exercises. One minute in the morning and one minute in the evening can help you relax and clear your mind.

Find a Hobby.  Whether it is completing crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles, reading, organizing family photos, or writing poems, find an indoor hobby for the winter months that keeps your mind active and engaged.

If the winter blues are worsening to the point that a loved one has trouble getting out of bed in the morning and engaging in any type of social activity – even a phone call – then it may be time to seek professional help. Signs of depression include loss of appetite, fatigue, and difficult concentrating. Talk to your doctor or seek a referral if any of those symptoms persist.  Hang in there, spring is just around the corner.

Lisa Vogel is the owner of The Lisa Vogel Agency, a home health care agency providing custodial care on a live-in or hourly basis for clients who require long-term care, rehabilitation care, or hospice care. Learn more about ways to battle the winter blues with the seniors in your life by contacting the Lisa Vogel Agency at 410-363-7770.

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