Senior Alternatives

Care Management and Home Care Services
Decreasing Chances of Social Isolation of Seniors During the Winter Months

February 19, 2019

he colder weather in the winter months can result in seniors deciding to stay home more. The elderly are not only more vulnerable to illness and infection when the temperatures drop significantly, but to slipping on water or ice which may result in a broken hip.

All of this can result in an increased risk for social isolation. As seniors get older, spouses and friends may have died and children no longer live locally. Research has shown that when seniors are not socially connected, they can have an increased chance of a variety of physical and mental health problems.

Suggestions to stay connected through the winter include:

• Increase frequency of contact. Seniors look forward to family gatherings and regular phone calls.

• Utilize neighbors or friends living nearby and ask them to stop by once a week to check-in.

• Encourage the senior to join a Senior Center. Many towns have senior centers that offer a way for aging adults to connect with each other. They offer programs and events to keep seniors engaged throughout the year.

• Introduce ideas for physical activity every day. It will improve the mood and ward off depression.

• Exercise helps increase your mobility and can lessen the risk for falls. Walking in malls is a good way to get exercise when the outdoors is not an option. Many gyms and recreation centers have specific exercise classes for seniors.

• Adopt a pet if it is feasible. Pets offer constant companionship to aging seniors.

• Introduce technology if appropriate. Learning programs like Skype and video chatting gives seniors a way to stay in touch with friends and family no matter how far away they may be. There are many chat groups (such as Seniors without Walls) geared toward almost any subject, and also groups specifically for seniors.

• Friendly visitor programs are offered through many city departments of aging which can help to ensure the overall safety and well being of a loved one.

It is important to remember that weather can play a big role in how a senior socializes. Plan ahead with your family to assure your senior family member avoids social isolation in the winter months.

The elderly are not only more vulnerable to illness and infection when the temperatures drop significantly, but to slipping on water or ice which may result in a broken hip.

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