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
Its a New Year, and the tradition of making some positive resolutions is at the top of everyones mind. Yes, it is important to stay healthy, to eat well and set goals but it is also important to exercise the mind just as much as the body. Some enjoyable ways to keeping a happy and healthy mind in 2021 are to indulge in activities such as reading, writing, solving puzzles and so much more! Here are some fun ways to keep an active mind for the upcoming year.Reading, Writing and SmilingReading is an engaging way to not only pass time but to also keep your mind sharp. There are so many great new book releases that have recently come out which provide an exciting escape for people of all ages. Most books even come in a large print option for those challenged with reading up close, or those who just like having a larger font size. Reading strengthens the brain, helps reduce stress levels and has even been told to increase longevity. Mental health is such an important aspect of todays society, and reading a good book to be able to escape reality is one of the best ways to spend the day!Along with reading and its positive stimulation on the brain, writing your own stories is a great way to keep an active mind and to help set personal goals for the New Year. Many of our communities have a full-time Activities Director that tailor toward peoples special interests in areas such as these for reading and writing, along with other areas like cooking, crafts and much more. A fun New Years resolution to pursue this year could be something such as striving to write a different short story a day or other type of narrative. Then, you can share it with friends and family, a great way to maintain these valuable personal relationships and of course, show off your creativity!Games, Puzzles and MorePuzzles come in a wide variety of forms that are fun for everyone. There are so many different options to keep you occupied in the New Year like crosswords, word searches, Sudoku and even your traditional jigsaw puzzles. Your brains health is just as important as your bodys, especially during these unprecedented times. Doing just one type of puzzle a day will help keep a sharp mind, since it exercises both sides of the brain and improves spatial reasoning. Something similar to puzzles that is also fun and an efficient way to pass time is playing cards. Games such as Go Fish and Solitaire help enhance your memory and mood all great things when starting off fresh for a New Year. You can always take a look at our Celebrations Activities and Events program to see all the different, diverse and fun recreation that is offered on a daily basis.In all, do your part to experience life to the fullest, and make sure to set daily goals for yourself even if they are small. The key to having a happy New Year is staying busy and exercising the mind throughout the day. Just a few minutes of taking care of your brain makes a world of a difference!
The winter months can present unique challenges to seniors. From poor weather conditions that may aggravate medical conditions or prevent seniors from spending much time outside to potential dangers created by having to walk or drive in wet or icy weather, winter often means taking a different approach to daily life for seniors.If you or your loved one are a senior who is trying to cope with the winter months, we want to provide you with a list of safe and fun activities that can make these times a little more bearable.Indoor exercisesBecause poor weather can make it dangerous to go outside for a walk or for a breath of fresh air, indoor exercises can be a healthy and safer alternative. These include chair exercises, using a treadmill, hand strength and coordination activities, low-impact games on Wii, and gentle stretching. You can determine whats safe for you, speak with a doctor about exercise suggestions.GamesThere are numerous games that provide an excellent opportunity for fun and leisure indoors, as well as mental stimulation that becomes increasingly important as we age. Play your favorite board game, solve a jigsaw puzzle, attend a Bingo event, or even use a Wii to play electronic puzzle and math games. These fun activities can help keep the mind sharp and defend against seasonal and wintertime depression that affects people of all ages.Learn a skill or hobbyWith additional time indoors, seniors may find that they can use their time productively to learn a new craft or skill, such as knitting, crocheting, playing an instrument, cooking, or woodworking by reading a How-To book, learning online, or watching an instructional video. Seniors may also choose to take classes that can teach them new skills, encourage social interaction, and offer an opportunity to get outside the house, or invite others over to enjoy a hobby together or to teach the skill itself.ReadReading is a great activity any time of year, but it can be especially enjoyable when you cozy up with a good book or magazine during winter months. Seniors can also join a local book club, which can provide more interaction with friends and the opportunity to discuss what they have read.Spend time with friendsSpending time with friends and family can help pass the time and open up the world for a senior who may spend a lot of time at home. Inviting friends over for a weekly or even monthly event night can be a great way to catch up and enjoy a game or hobby as a group. Seniors may also hold book clubs or classes in their own home, where they can share their thoughts and skills with others.The winter months can be tough for everyone, not just seniors. By being creative and making the effort to use time indoors productively and enjoyably, seniors and anyone else who may be homebound can fend off boredom, improve their physical and mental health, and have fun.PRO-TIPWhile journaling is enjoyed by people of all ages, it can be a particularly beneficial activity for seniors. Regardless of what subjects are addressed, or even the quality of writing, journaling can contribute significantly to mental and emotional health.The good news is that its not difficult to get started with this activity. All you or your loved one need are a notebook, writing utensils, and dedication to jotting down at least a few sentences on a regular basis.Contact your local care advisor at Assisted Living Locators if you have questions about these ideas or how we can be of assistance, contact us today.For more information on how to prepare your family and your elderly loved ones for the holidays, please reach out to your local Assisted Living Locators senior care advisor today!