The groundhog might not have been able to see his shadow in Toronto on February 2, but we’ve got at least 6 more weeks of winter anyway. This time of year, winter always seems to stretch out like a highway in Alberta, straight, flat, and unending.
For seniors and their caregivers, the dreary skies and cold temperatures can be especially hard. When you’re stuck inside the same four walls day after day, boredom can take over. Mid-winter is prime season for feeling alone and cut off from the world. It’s easy to think about low moods and grumpiness as a normal part of aging, but they don't always have to be (see our blog post on how to ward off senior depression). Try combating loneliness and boredom by engaging the heart, body, and mind with some fun winter activities for seniors.
Get out of the house if possible:
- Sunlight has a beneficial effect on our brains; on sunny days, get outside if possible, even if it's just to go to the grocery store.
- If going outside is difficult, bring nature to you - arrange flowers or tend to your houseplants.
Keep physically active:
- Take walks in the mall or other indoor venue (do avoid icy or snow-covered sidewalks).
- If walking is not an option, try armchair exercises to keep up muscle strength and blood flow to the brain and body.
- Many community centres offer physical activity programs for seniors, from dancing to yoga and everything in between.
Keep mentally active:
- Read a good book.
- Watch a history show on TV.
- Do crossword or jigsaw puzzles.
- Take a class – community centres offer life-long learning as well as physical activities: art and crafts, woodworking, cooking, and health education, to name a few.
- If you can’t get out to a community centre, try learning a new craft at home or improve your skills with one you already know.
- Get together with friends and relatives.
- Host a tea party or sewing circle.
- Volunteer with your church, the nearest library, a community centre, a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter. Helping others always improves your outlook on life.
- Join a club, a community choir or a knitting, quilting, or crocheting group.
Engage your positive emotions:
- Look through your scrapbooks, or create a new one. Memory books are helpful for those in the early stages of Alzheimer's or dementia.
- Create a memoir: write, dictate, or record your memories on tape – the younger generations in your family will appreciate your efforts.
- Laughter really is the best medicine – watch a funny movie or TV show, even if you’ve seen it a hundred times, it will still raise your spirits.
Let us know your ideas for wintertime activities. We'd love to hear how you beat the cold weather blues.