During the winter months, the cold weather outside can make it harder for seniors to get out and stay active and social. Staying indoors could lead to feelings of loneliness or isolation. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects more seniors during the winter than it does during the summer. Here are 5 ways you can help keep your senior mom feeling engaged, happy, and healthy during the colder months.
1. Get to Know Mom's Friends and Neighbors
By getting to know the people who are close to her, both emotionally and in location, you can keep a better eye on Mom’s health and activity level. If the weather is bad or you live far away from each other, you can always call a neighbor or a friend and have them check up on Mom for you. Have a neighbor drop food by, or send one of Mom’s friends to pick her up and take her out for a fun day of food, shopping, or any other fun activity that she enjoys doing.
2. Give Extra Help with Any Health Issues
Consider scheduling deliveries for any health products that Mom uses daily. You can use an online service or enlist help from a local store if they have a delivery option for customers. You can take away some anxiety and worry for Mom by having contacts, incontinence supplies, medications, and many other items shipped directly to her house. Make sure you pay attention to any new signs or symptoms that your senior mom may be having, and schedule her appointments with the appropriate doctor if you suspect any new health problems.
3. Use Food Delivery Services
Staying indoors for long periods of time because of the cold can mean Mom isn’t making it to the grocery store as often as usual. To help prevent senior malnutrition, you may want to order Mom’s groceries online and either pick them up for her or have them shipped to her house. Walmart offers online ordering and in-store grocery pick-up. Online presences like Amazon and Shipt will deliver groceries to certain areas. Just search Mom’s location on their websites to see if delivery is available in her neighborhood.
4. Connect Mom with Transportation Services
Providing your senior mom with easily accessible transportation is a great way to encourage her to get out. Help Mom learn about and use local transportation options like the bus, trolley, or taxi. You can find out which busses stop near her home and print her out a schedule to go on her fridge, or if Mom is good at using a smartphone, sign her up for services like Lyft or Uber so she always has a ride if she needs one. Some cities have companies that offer rides specifically geared toward seniors who need or want transportation assistance.
5. Consider Assisted Living
If your senior mom has started staying indoors more and more and isn’t socializing or leaving the house like she used to, it might be time to consider moving her into an assisted living community. In an assisted living community, she can maintain her independence while getting some extra help for tasks of daily life that she may struggle with. Mom will also be surrounded by other senior residents with whom may share similar interests. There are activities, clubs, and many other options available to seniors who live in an assisted living community that help keep everyone social and happy.
Read about more ways caregivers can help prevent senior isolation.