As we prepare for the colder weather and sunlight changes, it is important to pay attention to how they can affect your senior loved one’s health.
Less daylight, cooling temperatures and sun changes can cause depression, less activity and difficulty with sleep.
When clocks hit daylight savings time, the change can shift your body out of its natural rhythm. Sticking to a sleep routine will help with the clock-time adjustment by making sure seniors go to bed and wake up around the same time each day.
While it can be harder at times for seniors to be outdoors in the colder temperatures, exposure to sunlight is critical in helping prevent depression and lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D has many roles in the body. It aids with maintaining the health of bones and teeth; supporting immune, nervous and brain systems; regulating insulin levels and diabetes; and supporting lung function and cardiovascular health.
Baird Nursing Home director of nursing Bonnie Jensen stated, “We keep our curtains open all day for the residents. The exposed windows allow as much sunlight to get in as possible. The sunlight helps residents be able to differentiate between night and daytime, aiding in sleep as well.”
Physical activity can be increasingly difficult as the colder months move upon the Rochester area. Planning for a variety of daily inside activities keeps seniors moving, thinking and emoting.
Activities director Kristina Lotz stated, “Getting your senior up and moving is important during the months with less daylight. Seniors can use light weights, play balloon volleyball, move to music waving scarves, place puzzle pieces, manipulate clay, sing along with songs from the past and participate in cooking and baking steps. I suggest finding a nonstrenuous activity that your loved one enjoys, and partaking in the activity with them.”
Guide your senior loved ones into fall and winter with routine bedtimes, sunlight and movement.