Fighting the Winter Blues? The cold and dark of winter can easily cause isolation and depression for seniors and rehabilitation patients. It is vital for everyone to keep their minds sharp and stay active during this season. Here are some fun, healthy and safe tips for caregivers and home health professionals to provide a brighter and healthier winter:
Reminisce: Reminiscing links the past with the present while providing socializing skills. Take out old photos or even the old slide shows. Google car photos, locations and celebrities of yesteryear s and reminisce. Create an old-fashion movie matinee with yesteryear’s movies and snacks. Paint /clip nails while talking about years gone by. Listening to old music can stir up great memories as well.
Entertaining: Entertaining lifts mental presences. Place a bird feeder outside a window in view of the senior or patient to view. Provide books, videos and books on tape from the library. Assist in writing/sending a letter or card. Create a jigsaw puzzle table. Bake cookies together. Read a story out loud.
Socializing: Socializing is a healthy activity. Create a surprise lunch with their old friend. Offer a “Call each day” (they can keep in contact with a family member, friend or the community through a daily phone call while socializing). Provide a newspaper, listen to talk radio or watch the news while talking about current events.
Craft Activities: Craft Activities strengthens hand-eye coordination. Such as scrap booking, knitting, model cars, coloring, beading or painting. Make paper snowflakes, snow shakers, paint wooden boxes, and homemade valentine cards. Endless craft ideas at no or low-cost can be googled.
Stretcherize: Stretcherize is a simple, in-place exercise. This can include ball tosses and kicks, transferring coins from one jar to another, setting the dinner table, the face expressions game or in-place stresses. Seniors and post-hospital patients should only do this as tolerated.
Games: Games create stimulation. Fun games can be: Word Searches, Crossword Puzzles and Maze games (these are online and easily printed). Simple board games such as Checkers and Scramble. Card games like Bunko. Bingo is always a favorite.
Assistant: Everyone wants to be needed. Ask for assistants in folding warm laundry, cutting out coupons, filling the pet’s food, water plants, feeding the fish, and more.
Music: Music from days gone by will bring back happy memories. Soothing music with a jigsaw puzzle will create an upbeat and relaxing feeling. Motown Music will bring back memories of cruising in their cool car. Smooth Jazz during dinner gives a restaurant feel. Sing-a-longs create an upbeat atmosphere.