Seniors and the Post-Holiday Slump

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By Martie Cruz

There seems to be two schools of thought about January. Some people are happy to get back into familiar routines and excited to take on a new year and new resolutions. Others slide straight into the January blues and want to hibernate until spring.

Even here in California, where we are blessed with relatively moderate winter temperatures -- and a few glimpses of the sun – people can develop varying degrees of seasonal affective disorder. For older adults and those who care for them, this can be even more pronounced because there may be fewer distractions like vacations, nights out with friends and other things to look forward to.

But the next few months don't have to be a dreary stretch of medical appointments and cabin fever. Here are some ways our clients and their CAREGivers fend off the winter blahs.

Relive holiday memories: If it was a particularly festive holiday season, consider making a photo album, or filling a digital frame, with pictures of the festivities to remind yourself and your loved one that joyful times are never far away.

Get moving: Some people have resolved to run a marathon or do Bay to Breakers this year, and that's great for them. But exercise is beneficial to everyone's well-being, regardless of their ability. Whether it's eking out ten minutes a day to take a walk around the block, taking a water aerobics class with others in your age group, or practicing a few chair yoga exercises, a little bit of exercise can have a significant impact on mood.

Keep some decorations up: It can be depressing when your surroundings go from holiday to hum drum overnight. You can ease the transition by keeping some of the less holiday-specific winter decorations up a little longer or replacing them right away with Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day or Mardi Gras decorations.

Do something new: It's a great time to join a book club or start visiting a senior center. Or you could take up a new hobby you've always wanted to try.

Consider light therapy: A SAD Lamp or light box therapy isn't for everyone, but it's definitely worth investigating whether it might be right for you.

Practice self-care: This is especially important for caregivers, who may be feeling burned out after the whirlwind of the holidays. Making sure you're eating correctly, getting enough sleep, and have access to respite care, if and when you need it, can make a significant difference in your overall well-being.

For more information about caring for aging loved ones, please contact us.


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