Five tips for helping your elderly loved ones with the winter blues

We have all had one of those days this past year that has led us to feel sad, alone and even experiencing a dark cloud hovering above our heads. With the days short and evenings dark, lots of people during this time are suffering from the “winter blues”.

In the UK alone, around 2 million Britons are impacted by the “winter blues” or better known Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  If you have noticed a change in your loved one’s behaviour they may be suffering from the “winter blues”.

Symptoms include excessive tiredness and then in turn sleep problems, unsociable behaviour, irritability, overeating and depression.

Here are our top 5 tips for helping your elderly loved ones to beat the winter blues this January.

Let the light in

One of the best ways to brightening up moods in an instant is by welcoming the natural light in. While the winter brings along the dark days, getting natural sunlight can be challenging at times but light therapy has shown to be one of the best ways to eliminate the winter blues.

Research has shown that light therapy is an effective way on beating the blues. Whether that be just opening up your curtains or getting outside, exposure to the sunlight for as little as 20 minutes can have a significant improvement on your mood.

At Crouched Friars the mental health and wellbeing our residents has always remained our top priority. Our carers spend time with every resident each day to discuss how they’re feeling and monitor their wellness and regularly encouraging our residents to still embrace the outside even during the Winter.

Encourage physical activity

Scientifically proven to be a successful way to beat the first signs of winter blues is by doing some simple exercise activities. According to research, those who are aged between 60-80 should be exercising for at least 2.5 hours every week, averaging to about 30 minutes a day.

Here at Crouched Friars, we promote a healthy lifestyle for all our residents where our carers spend time with residents to ensure they experience maximum physical every day. Surrounding our home are beautifully landscaped gardens, providing secure walking surfaces, seating and an abundance of flora and fauna for residents to discover.

Check-in regularly

Staying in touch and checking in with your loved ones can be a huge mood enhancer.  There is no right or wrong way to going about checking in with a loved one but by just asking, listening and supporting them, is the first steps in helping them.

While our visits have stopped due to the third national lockdown, a simple phone or video call with a loved one can greatly brighten their spirits. Our residents get a huge amount of enjoyment from checking in with their friends and relatives on a weekly basis.

Encourage learning a new hobby

No matter what your age is, you are never too old to learn a new hobby. After the first lockdown, many of us have developed a new hobby since the first lockdown as to allows individuals to take their mind of the stress of daily life, keeping the mind and hands busy.

Research has demonstrated by engaging in mind stimulating activities “may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and overall dementia”.  The simple act of learning a new hobby can help eliminate the early signs of depression, loneliness and even dementia in seniors by at least 30%.

Supply a list of helplines

Sometimes our loved ones find it hard to admit their feelings to friends and families, by providing them with a list of helplines they can reach out to can greatly help them. There are many charities and helplines out there to support elderly individuals looking for mental health advice.

For mental health and general advice, call Age UK: 0800 678 1602

For loneliness and general advice, call Independent Age: 0800 319 6789

For mental health support, call the Samaritans: 116 123

For befriending and mental health advice, call The Silver Line: 0800 470 80 90

For grief and bereavement advice, call Cruse: 0808 808 1677

Based in Colchester, Essex, we provide specialist support including dementia care, creating a safe environment for individuals to meet new friends and form wonderful and lifelong connections.

If you are interested in finding out more about Crouched Friars Residential Home, our friendly team would be happy to talk to you via 01359 230773 or if you fill out our contact form and a member of our team will get in touch.

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