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Beat Senior Seasonal Depression with Engaging Indoor Winter Activities

Seasonal depression affects many seniors. Engaging indoor activities can make the winter more enjoyable and healthy.

Depression can increase during the winter months, affecting senior health and quality of life. Indoor activities for seniors can relieve depression.

About 6 million American seniors are affected by depression. For many, depression occurs or increases during the winter months. Depression can increase health risks, including the risk of death. Many indoor activities can improve seniors’ outlook and ease the effects of depression.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Sluggishness
  • Lack of Interest
  • Over or under sleeping
  • Combativeness
  • Moodiness
  • Withdrawal
  • Rejection of Routine
  • Low Appetite
  • Neglecting self-care

Indoor Activities Seniors Can Enjoy in the Winter

Social Activities

Loneliness and depression are linked. To brighten a loved one’s winter season, encourage social activities like:

  • Visiting with friends regularly
  • Communicating online via video chat
  • Letter writing or scheduled phone calls
  • Joining a senior hobby club
  • Getting involved in a religious group
  • Volunteering if able

Creative Hobbies

Having a goal in sight can give seniors something to enjoy and to look forward to. Find hobby projects that a senior can complete over the winter indoors. Try:

  • Scrapbooking
  • Completing puzzles
  • Knitting or crocheting
  • Making models and crafts
  • Painting or other arts
  • Playing board games

Adult Education

Acquiring a new skill engages seniors’ minds, which is good for their mental health and can ease depression as well. Look for:

  • Local book clubs at the library
  • Community education classes
  • Lectures at museums
  • Classes for specific skills
  • Interest-based discussion groups
  • Opportunities to learn online

Did You Know?

Binge-watching TV, a common activity for seniors in the winter, is actually linked to loneliness and depression. Encourage seniors to spend less than two hours at a time watching TV.

Try not to suggest TV-watching when seniors are bored or depressed. Recommend activities that stimulate the brain, like reading or playing a game.

(CBS News)

Ways to Stay Active Indoors

Exercise is proven to relieve depression. That makes staying fit even more important for senior health. Of course, many seniors are limited in the types of exercise they can perform. Use these ideas to keep seniors moving indoors safely:

  • Visit malls or community centers to take walks
  • Find appropriate gym equipment for the home
  • Encourage daily stretching sessions
  • Sign up for senior yoga, Zumba, or aerobics
  • Locate an indoor swimming pool
  • Seek personal training at a gym or at home
  • Get into a strengthening program via physical therapy

(NCBI)

Home Care Tip:

Seasonal depression can also be linked to mental health and memory disorders. If a senior’s mood does not improve despite increased activity, socializing, or exercise, encourage them to visit their doctor.

Ted Wolfendale

Administrator at Dial-a-Nurse
Mr. Wolfendale is a graduate of Stetson University, and Stetson University School of Law, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1988. He is admitted to practice in the Middle district of Florida, is an active member of the Florida Health Law section, and Lee County Bar Association.

In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.

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