Winter Wellness for SeniorsBy Patrick Troumbley, MS, CSCSBalancing the 8 Pillars of Wellness for Seniors in Winter: Evidence-Based Insights Introduction As winter descends, the well-being of seniors becomes a paramount concern. Aging individuals must navigate the unique challenges that colder temperatures and reduced daylight hours bring. This article delves into the intricacies of balancing the 8 pillars of wellness for seniors during the winter season, substantiating insights with scholarly references. Physical Wellness Physical wellness, a cornerstone of senior health, demands careful attention during winter. Maintaining physical activity is essential for avoiding the adverse effects of inactivity and cold weather. A study by de Rezende et al. (2014) emphasizes the importance of regular physical activity for seniors, citing its role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Indoor exercises like yoga and chair exercises, as recommended by the American Heart Association (2021), offer viable options to stay active during winter. Mental Wellness The winter months often usher in feelings of isolation and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A study by Melrose (2015) underscores the prevalence of SAD among older adults. Engaging in cognitive stimulation activities can alleviate symptoms. Seniors can find solace in local clubs, virtual classes, and community events, as advocated by Forrester (2017), who highlights the significance of social engagement in mitigating SAD symptoms. Emotional WellnessEmotional wellness hinges on effective emotional regulation. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques are integral components of emotional wellness. A systematic review by Rusch et al. (2019) supports the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions in reducing stress and anxiety. Seniors can access mindfulness resources and guidance on emotional wellness through organizations such as Seniors Blue Book Utah. Social WellnessMaintaining an active social life is pivotal for seniors. The adverse effects of social isolation on senior well-being have been extensively documented (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015). Seniors are encouraged to participate in local clubs and community events, as promoted by Senior Expos, to foster social connections. Intellectual Wellness Intellectual wellness necessitates ongoing learning and mental stimulation. Seniors can embrace hobbies like reading and learning new languages to foster intellectual growth. A study by Verghese et al. (2003) associates intellectual engagement with a reduced risk of cognitive decline in aging individuals. Occupational Wellness Occupational wellness transcends traditional work and relates to engaging in purposeful activities. Volunteering, as explored in a study by Okun et al. (2016), offers seniors a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Seniors can explore volunteer opportunities through organizations like Seniors Blue Book Utah. Environmental Wellness Winter introduces environmental challenges, such as slippery sidewalks and heating concerns. Seniors must ensure their living environments are safe and comfortable. The National Institute on Aging (2021) provides valuable tips for creating senior-friendly environments. Spiritual Wellness Spiritual wellness revolves around finding meaning and purpose in life. Engaging in spiritual practices, such as meditation and prayer, can provide solace and inner peace. A study by Carlson et al. (2016) explores the positive effects of mindfulness-based spiritual practices on well-being. Conclusion Balancing the 8 pillars of wellness is paramount for senior well-being, especially during the winter months. Evidence-based insights emphasize the need for regular physical activity, cognitive stimulation, social engagement, and emotional regulation. Seniors can access resources and information from reputable organizations like Seniors Blue Book Utah and Senior Expos to aid in their pursuit of wellness. By integrating these scholarly insights into their winter routines, seniors can not only survive but thrive during this season, enjoying a life marked by health, happiness, and purpose. References: American Heart Association. (2021). Recommendations for Physical Activity in Older Adults. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-older-adults Carlson, L. E., et al. (2016). Mindfulness-based interventions for coping with cancer. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1373(1), 5-12.de Rezende, L. F. M., et al. (2014). Physical activity and preventable premature deaths from non-communicable diseases in Brazil. Journal of Public Health, 36(3), 514-522. Forrester, A. (2017). Seasonal affective disorder in older adults: improving mood and well-being through leisure interventions. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 41(1), 39-53. Holt-Lunstad, J., et al. (2015). Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: A meta-analytic review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(2), 227-237.Melrose, S. (2015). Seasonal affective disorder: An overview of assessment and treatment approaches. Depression Research and Treatment, 2015, 1-6.National Institute on Aging. (2021). Winter Safety Tips for Older Adults. https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/infographics/winter-safety-tips-older-adults Okun, M. A., et al. (2016). Volunteering by older adults and risk of mortality: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 31(6), 634-645. Rusch, H. L., et al. (2019). A randomized controlled trial of the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on posttraumatic growth among survivors of interpersonal violence. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 32(6), 936-946. Verghese, J., et al. (2003). Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly. New England Journal of Medicine, 348(25), 2508-2516.Patrick Troumbley, MS, CSCS
The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed how we live, but perhaps even more heartbreaking, how we are able to grieve. Social distancing has prevented holding funerals or otherwise gathering to mourn the loss of our loved ones, and even a comforting touch or hug isnt safe.Other rituals have been disrupted as well. Jewish and Muslim religions state that there must be a disposition of a persons remains within 24 hours after death, but in many places this is not possible; there are delays as funeral homes, cemeteries and crematories struggle to keep up with the high number of COVD-19 deaths.We mourn the loss of loved ones, and also our many ways of saying goodbye: the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva, the week-long period in which friends and family visit those in mourning to offer condolences and provide comfort that dates back to biblical times; the Irish wake, simultaneously joyful and sad, when people share songs, drinks, and stories about the departed; the Islamic ritual washing of the deceaseds body; and countless others.Not being able to perform rituals [is] devastating for people, said psychologist Noe Kasali, director of the Bethesda Counseling Center. It prolongs their suffering.One family member expressed how unsettling the inability to gather in mourning his fathers passing is: It feels unreal, like it didnt happen.In response, funeral providers, communities, and families are finding alternative ways to be together to honor loved ones who have died.Technology is playing a big part. Mourners are gathering virtually via Zoom and Skype, the free video/audio communications platforms. Families are filming funerals live on Facebook, which allows not only loved ones to take part virtually, but also opens the experience to condolences from many in the shared experience of isolation. Some funeral homes are livestreaming services, so friends and family far away can participate.In a first-person story on cheddar.com, Max Godnick described a funeral held on Zoom for his grandmother, who passed away after complications from COVID-19, as the most meaningful, spiritual, intimate, and inspiring funeral Ive ever been to. The moment encapsulated the best of social media playing out in real-time. I was provided a window into my familys global network of love and support separated by distance but brought together by a single purpose and Zoom grid view.Just like so many other families around the world right now, mine learned just how hard it is to lose a loved one without being able to see them, be with them, or say goodbye in their final days, Godnick said.Others are creating new ways of honoring those theyve lost. In County Kerry, Ireland, neighbors lined the mile-long road from the church to the graveyard to say goodbye to their friend Betty Ryan, careful to maintain safe distance between one another. A beautiful tribute and great example of community spirit, one observer said.Closer to home, in Louisville, KY, a family held a drive-by funeral procession. One by one, cars stopped in front of the home of John Renn Jr. and tossed flowers, held signs at the car windows, and smiled and waved at the family.What a time were living in right now, said Renns nephew, Rick Obst. Everybody needs a hug, but throwing tragedy on top of it? These kinds of celebrations have to be done and can be done. Were trying to set an example, hopefully, of how we can do this the best way and still stay safe from the coronavirus.Many families who may have been debating whether to choose burial or cremation for a loved one are now choosing cremation already the choice of more than half in the US. This gives the option of scheduling a memorial service at a later date; also, in a tightened economy, cost has become a bigger consideration, since cremation is about one-third the price of burial.Its important to find connection in whatever ways you can, said Megan Devine, a therapist, grief advocate, and author. Even starting a text thread with close friends to talk about the person youve lost can be helpful.Other alternative mourning rituals:Talk to people. Reach out to your social support network family and friends through phone calls, emails, and video platforms. While physically separated, staying connected, talking and sharing stories about your loved one, can help alleviate the feeling of being alone in your grief.Create and express. There are so many ways to pay a personal tribute to your loved one, and art is both healing and a release. Write about or to them, or journal about how youre feeling. Cook their favorite meal. Plant a tree or flowers in their memory. Read their favorite book, listen to their favorite music, or watch their favorite movie. On social media, you can create a Facebook or Instagram page dedicated to them, and invite others to contribute or share their memories as well. Do an art or music project that youll be able to share with loved ones when youre together.Plan a memorial service for later. In a time of uncertainty, it can be deeply healing to make plans for what youll do in the future, when youll again be surrounded by family and friends who will join you in honoring this special person. Rather than thinking of a tribute as being canceled, you can use this extra time to plan something special.Ask for help. If youre struggling, there are grief resources you can go to for support. The Dougy Center, Grief.com and Grief Resource Network offer groups and programs; you can also subscribe to the Neptune Societys free bereavement series, 12 Weeks of Peace.Most important, dont deny your grief. Even if, in the time following your loved ones death, you cant mourn and celebrate their life in the way you wish, acknowledge your feelings of loss and sadness. In the midst of this larger crisis, when you may be overwhelmed by fear and anxiety, its not healthy to minimize or dismiss how this personal loss is affecting you. Its okay to cry. We all grieve in different ways, so be true to your own feelings, and ask for the emotional support you need.______________________________________________________________________________________________The Neptune Society is the nations oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.
When you experience a loss, people from all periods of your life will be there to help. Whether its old friends, family friends, or anybody else you didnt quite expect, youll want to write them a Thank you note for their assistance. The same goes for those that you knew would be there, like friends that are still around, or other family members. But, it goes without saying, if youve never written a note like this before, it can be tough to put your words to paper. Neptune Society is here to help you in your time of need by providing you with some tips on what to include in a sympathy thank you note, or funeral thank you card. What To Include In A Sympathy Or Funeral Thank You Card Writing a sympathy thank you note, or a funeral thank you card, may be easier than you think. The card and messaging doesnt have to be long its more ideal that its concise. Short and to the point is always more effective than long thank you notes. With all that youre currently experiencing, the last thing you should need to worry about is writing the perfect thank you card for someone whos assisted in the funeral of a loved one. Whats more important is to make this note or card personal. There are a number of reasons you may want to thank someone for help at a funeral. Whether this person provided food for the guests, sent flowers, or was simply there for you, its best to personalize the message accordingly. Not every card need to be personalized. Since most of the cards will be for simply attending the funeral or memorial serve, its fine to include similar phrases for each one. View some of the ideas below, and personalize where applicable. Thank you for attending (I, We) appreciate you attending (loved ones) funeral. Thank you for taking the time to come to (loved ones) funeral. It meant a lot to (us, me) to see you at (loved ones) funeral Thank you for sharing the celebration of (loved ones) life with (me, us). Follow-up (I, we) appreciate the effort you took in traveling such a distance to attend the funeral. The stories and memories you shared about (loved one) were one-of-a-kind. Your presence and words were a comfort for (me, the family) in this time. Your stories about (loved one) were special to us. You lifted our spirits with your words about (loved one). It meant a lot to us to hear how (loved one) touched the lives of others. You meant so much to (loved one) and I can tell (he/she/they) meant a lot to you. Celebrating the life of (loved one) would not have been completed without you. Closing line Your presence meant the world to (me/the family). Your support made a huge difference during this difficult time. Thank you for your words of support. Your kindness/support means more than words can possibly express. (I, the family) will always remember your kindness. You were a true friend to (loved one) and will always be an important part of the family. Now that youve got a few ideas about what to write in your thank you note, you can choose the best way to express your gratitude in just a few lines. Remember, the people on your list for thank you notes are there for a reason. They supported you and your family during a tough time, and they care. Before you go, check out some more general tips on writing your thank you notes.Dont Worry If Time Has Passed Since The Funeral: While its best to get your notes in the mail as soon as possible, people will totally understand if it takes a couple of months. Ask For Help If You Need It: After the funeral, there may be more people to thank than you initially thought. Dont be afraid to ask friends or family members for help. Include Other Family Members In The Signature: If youre sending a thank you note on behalf of the family, signing the card as The family of (loved one) allows the sender to express the gratitude of the whole family. If youre the only one whos been assisted, just sign your own name. Break Up Your List to Make it Manageable: Tackling the entire list at once can be overwhelming. Breaking the work up into manageable chunks or pieces can make it easier to get started, and get it done. Include Your Full Name And The Name Of Your Loved One In The Letter: Be sure to include your last name when thanking those who arent a close friend (for example, the office or workplace of your loved one). This is especially important if youre a bit late on sending out your acknowledgements. Short but Meaningful is the Goal: Creating a simple 1-3 sentence thank you note is the main goal here, and you want to make sure it comes from the heart. Additionally, if you choose to print your notes as opposed to hand-writing them, make sure to include a bit of personalization with a brief note and a signature. Writing A Sympathy Note Doesnt Have To Be Hard Youve dealt with enough turmoil in the past couple of months if youve recently experienced the death of a loved one. This blog post is intended to assist those that are writing a sympathy note for attendance of a funeral and have never done it before. At Neptune Society, we aim to be as helpful as possible, in all aspects, when you experience the death of a loved one. We hope this blog post was of assistance to you in your time of need. ______________________________________________________________________________________________The Neptune Society is the nations oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.