Tag Archives: elderly

Fighting the Winter Blues

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As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, it’s common to feel the winter blues.  In fact, nearly one in four adults experience different degrees of depression in the winter due to the lack of sunshine and limited activities. However, for the majority of us, there are several tactics we can do to help stay upbeat and positive this winter.

Additional Quality Time

If you’re starting to feel a little down this winter, spend additional quality time with friends and loved ones. Most people tend to isolate from others when their mood goes south, so it’s important to reach out to friends and family members for group support.  It can be as easy as spending time with them listening to music, playing cards, or even flipping through old photo albums.  A little additional time spent with others can go a long way to improve a person’s well-being.  If you don’t live within driving distance to your family members, consider setting up a video call.  A face-to-face video chat can help communicate with loved ones and improve your mood through uplifting conversations.

Daily Diet

Since we receive most of our vitamin D from the sun, choosing a daily diet rich in vitamins can go a long way in fighting the winter blues.  Vitamin D rich foods include salmon, eggs, tuna, milk, yogurt, sardines and fortified cereals.  Winter is also a great time to test out mood boosting soups and stews.  Key ingredients may include squash as it is a good source of magnesium and potassium, as well as eggplant, which is full of fiber, copper, vitamin B1 and manganese. Sweet potatoes is also a hearty winter food packed with vitamin b6, biotin, and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Here’s a list of recipes for delicious dinners that include these key mood boosting ingredients.

Light Lamp

Researchers believe that sitting in front of a fluorescent light lamp, which mimics outdoor light, can cause a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Results show that this technique can start to improve depression symptoms within just a few days. Seniors should sit in front of the light for about 20 to 30 minutes within the first hour of waking up in the morning. They’re designed to be safe and effective and with prices starting at $39.00, light lamps are affordable.

While the winter months can be difficult at any age, all it takes is a little patience and some small adjustments in your daily routine to help beat the winter blues.  It’s important to remember that winter doesn’t last forever. Try to envision the spring and sunshine at the end of the blustery tunnel.

Importance of Activities for Seniors

Playing bingo at The Arthur Home

Playing bingo.

Activities for seniors offer far more than just pleasure. Here’s our top five reasons why seniors, and their families, should participate in weekly activities.

Nurtures Relationships

Whether it is going to bingo night, a music event or joining the Red Hat Ladies Club, it is important to meet new people, build relationships and enjoy the benefits of having a social network. Social activities and relationships help seniors stay involved and active in their communities. Developing and nurturing relationships also helps seniors defeat loneliness and isolation.

It’s just as important for the families of seniors to be involved in activities with them to keep growing their already established relationships. The amount of quality time spent with your elder is a better predictor of their psychological well-being than the amount of time spent with them.

Keep Learning

Activities present an opportunity to learn new skills and brush up on current talents. From studying a new language to learning how to play chess, there are so many new hobbies to learn and engage in. No matter their chronological age, there is always an opportunity to learn something new for seniors.

Mental Stimulation

Activities stimulate the brain. Whether it’s signing up for a cooking class, playing a game of Wii bowling, taking up crocheting or playing UNO with friends, each activity keeps the brain and body engaged. Not only are social activities enjoyable, they also keep our brain sharp. Mental exercise stimulates the brain, providing long-lasting positive effects on seniors thinking skills, reasoning skills and memory.

Social Stimulation

If seniors don’t make an effort to stay socially active, they begin to withdraw from the world and suffer physical, mental, and emotional consequences. Social activities help give seniors a sense of purpose, whether it’s simply the routine of having a schedule and a place to be or the sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching a goal. Social stimulation also helps to promote positive self-awareness. These activities may include journal writing, reading, singing groups or even reminiscing with friends.

Improve Health

According to an article published in the Journal of American Medical Association, elderly people who remain physically and mentally active significantly reduce their risk for cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Taking part in group activities and social events help elderly people maintain a sense of meaning and purpose in life, which boosts their emotional well-being.

Nurses’ Corner

The holiday season is upon us!! We here at The Arthur Home hope everyone has had and continues to have a safe and happy holiday season!! Our facility is looking very festive and the residents are really enjoying the decorations and the carolers!

With all of the excitement of the holidays, times can also be very stressful. Stress comes in many forms, and can have a negative effect on health if it continues too long or feels overwhelming (USDVA, 2015). Many tools are available to help you manage and reduce your stress. Here are some basic stress management suggestions you can use to help reduce stress this holiday season (USDVA, 2015):

  • Physical Activity – Take a brisk walk or engage in other physically demanding activities. This may reduce your stress. Regular physical activity is best.
  • Relaxation Training – Learn relaxation and mindfulness skills. these skills can assist you to manage the arousal that is associated with stress, and daily relaxation may protect you from at least some of the consequences of stress.
  • Expression – Speak up in respectful ways. Sharing thoughts and feelings in an assertive and respectful manner can sometimes help buffer stress. Keeping those thoughts inside can increase your stress.
  • Time Management – List what needs to get done, make plans for addressing issues, and stick to the plan. there are several self-help books on time management at libraries and book stores.
  • Positive Thinking – Stress is often associated with negative, self-critical thinking. Focus your attention on positive thoughts about yourself, favorite songs, poems, favorite prayers, or hobbies.
  • Pleasant Activities – you may be experiencing the effects of stress if you are not making time for fun in your life. Plan to have regular, enjoyable activities and see if this buffers your stress.

Again, we wish everyone a very blessed Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!

Jessica and Alicia

Heat Exhaustion / Stroke Awareness

HEAT EXHAUSTION/STROKE

extreme-heatWith the rise in temperature outside it is a blessing to have a job where I can work with wonderful people in the air condition. Not everyone is so lucky. From landscapers, factory workers, farmers and even some without mode of transport especially with A/C you need to be on alert for signs of heat exhaustion.

With the heat index of 105 these recently, it does not take very long to succumb to heat exhaustion. Heat Exhaustion isn’t as serious as heat stroke, but it isn’t something to be taken lightly. Without proper intervention, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which can damage the brain and other vital organs, and even cause death. The most at-risk population are young children and the elderly, as well as any others with medical conditions at any age such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer, etc.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration) Dizziness
  • Fainting Fatigue Headache
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps Nausea,vomiting,or diarrhea Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Treatment for Heat Exhaustion

  • Drink plenty of fluid (avoid caffeine and alcohol). Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing.
  • Take a cool shower,bath,or sponge bath.
  • Apply other cooling measures such as fans or ice towels.

If such measures fail to provide relief within 15 minutes, seek emergency medical help, because untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke.

Keep hydrated and stay cool!!!!

Crystal Stiner, RN, BSN, DON

Crystal Stiner RN BSN DON