Fall is

A beautiful time of year. The sky is a clear blue, the change in the direction of the sun light casts a lovely yellow hue as leaves are turning color and the air is finally turning cooler. It brings thoughts of young trick or treaters, pumpkins and raking leaves.

Many of us embrace this time of year but it also means shorter days and longer nights. That can be difficult for everyone and it is particularly challenging for older adults. I know my own mother loved the fall, but as she got older she came to dread the long dark evenings and the late rising sun.

Winter Means

Less time for seniors to drive in daylight hours decreasing opportunities for shopping, socialization and medical appointments. Families with children are busy with school, and shuttling kids back and forth to sports practice, or other extracurricular activities, which may mean less time spent with grandparents or other older adults. In our communities, neighbors are spending more time indoors as days become cooler creating less opportunities for impromptu interaction. The upcoming holidays bring the possibility of visits from family and friends but also the disappointment of unmet expectations.

We Begin To Notice Mental Changes More

It is a time when subtle declines in a loved ones cognitive or physical health may become more pronounced by the decrease in day light, social isolation, the onset of cold weather and the impending holiday season. As winter approaches it is important to check in more often with our senior friends, family members and neighbors. Many times, older adults will deny needing help and not want to ‘bother’ anyone else. However, if you incorporate them into the weekly errands and chores for your own home they may be more receptive to assistance.

Tips To Improve Your Winter Moods

  • It is a good time to look at household lighting
    • Make sure fixtures are working and spent bulbs replaced inside and out
    • Consider replacing light bulbs with daylight bulbs for a brighter home
    • Consider adding timers to lamps and program them to come on in the afternoon before it gets too dark and in the morning before getting out of bed
    • Provide encouragement to keep shades open as long as possible to capture the most natural light
  • Help with errands or chores
    • Call when you are out to see if groceries or drug store items are needed
    • If there is a pet, stop by to take Fido for a walk
    • Roll garbage and recycle bins in and out with your own
  • Assist with socialization
    • Consider stopping in for a short visit after picking up or dropping off kids
    • If possible, take your friend or family member along on a routine errand to the grocery store or library
    • Call to say hello and let them know you are thinking of them
    • Share one of your children’s many pieces of art

There are so many ways to connect with the seniors in your life. Just make sure you make the time to do it. You will make such a big difference for them and bring more joy to your life at the same time!

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