How To Get Sunshine During The Gloomy Winter Caregiving Months
It’s no mistake that one of the 6 key domains of the Age Friendliness Score is transportation. Ease of mobility can keep daily routines dynamic and avoid social isolation, but during the long winter months or in caregiving situations where a loved one’s mobility is impaired, it can become much more difficult to get out and get a daily dose of Vitamin D. In order to help us combat this, we asked our caregiving experts for their tips on how to make sure even people in prime polar vortex territory can get some sun.
- Take a 15 minute Walk: Though it’s incredibly obvious, getting out of the house for as little as 15 minutes can improve mood, can help with sundowning, lead to a better disposition, and promote activity. Additionally, skin exposed to sunshine through a window won’t produce Vitamin D, so being exposed to fresh air actually matters. Find the warmest part of your day, bundle up, and take a brief walk, even if it’s just around the block. It will do more good than you think.
- Take Winter Precautions for Alzheimer’s and Dementia: For those with cognitive impairment, winter can represent a particularly dangerous time of year due to hazardous outdoor temperatures. If you’re a caregiver, make sure you remove summer clothes from the closet, lock the thermostat to a comfortable temperature, and consider getting GPS medic-alert bracelets if your loved one is at risk of wandering, so they can be found quickly.
- Consider Light Therapy: If there’s a clinical diagnosis, research suggests that light therapy can yield a variety of benefits to help beat the winter blues. Though the sun is still number one, this may be a viable option if temperatures reach truly hostile levels outside.
- Listen To Music: If all else fails, try other mood-lifting activities like listening or playing music. It’s not a spot-on substitute, but it may be able to hold you over for a day or two until the mercury rises back into positive territory and you can get back outside!
With just a few winter tips, you’ll be able to save your spirit for the sunshine and warmth of summer. Remember, if you have any care questions at all, be sure to call one of our family advisors.