Beating the January Blues for the elderly

January blues for the elderly, old man walking alone in the snow

Beating the January Blues for the elderly

January can be a difficult month for many, especially the elderly. The build up and excitement of Christmas is over and it has been proven that many people feel the January Blues, with the most depressing day of the year named as Blue Monday, on the 18th January.  The third Monday of January has been awarded this gloomy title due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills.  Following the year everybody had in 2020, there has been great expectations on 2021, but of course we need to be realistic and accept that things aren’t suddenly going to brighten over night.

Here are our top tips to help beat the January blues for the elderly:

1. Daylight exposure
The vitamin D from natural light can help to improve your mood and sunlight is one of the most effective remedies for winter depression. It has been shown to improve the body’s circadian rhythm and boost serotonin levels. Many seniors can benefit from spending some time outside each day. Those who can’t make it out can open the blinds or curtains in their home and sit near a window. Ask someone to help by trimming the trees or bushes that are keeping light from entering your home.

2. Stay Active
Exercise, while important all year round, can be vital to lifting you up during the winter months. You can exercise indoors or dress in layers and take your exercise outdoors for some fresh air, if the temperature isn’t too cold. Stretching and walking are a couple of ideas to get you started. You can also try these indoor exercises, especially with the elderly in mind.

3. Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is essential for older adults and is a natural way to boost your mood and energy. Provide your body with the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. Avoid the temptation to eat unhealthy snacks, and instead, snack on complex carbohydrates and super foods such as blueberries and Greek yogurt.

4. Socialize
Being around other people and/or talking to them can lift your spirits. We understand that getting together with friends or family is difficult at the moment.  However a simple call can make the world of difference.  You can also organise video calls (and we’ve been sharing a number of ways of staying connected during the current pandemic, from watching theatre shows together, to even going on an online safari)!

5. Stick to a Schedule
When experiencing the January blues for the elderly, it can be tempting to alter your schedule to avoid activities and socialization – and hibernate instead. For example, if you prepared dinner at a certain time every day, try to stick to that same schedule. Or if you typically attend Sunday services at your church, don’t skip it this time of year (again these can be attended virtually).

6. Respite Care
Respite care can be an excellent option for older people struggling with the winter blues. Older adults who have mobility challenges or are afraid to leave home during dangerous weather can benefit significantly from respite care. Not only does it provide a safe place to stay during the winter months, but it also provides social opportunities. If you’d like to know more about how we can help in this area, then please get in touch.

Remember that many people are feeling sluggish, unmotivated, and down during the colder months. The most important thing is to talk somebody and know that people are around to help and offer support.

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