Blues. Baby, royal or navy, we all have them. We are in the “mid bleak winter.” Dark and Cold. Frozen arctic tundra. We may not want to go outside, it’s miserable. If you are of working age, you have to go out and engage, which is a good thing. You are mostly sure footed, still have good night vision and have both physical and mental flexibility.
Fact: Elder depression is on the rise. Our retired elder family members may have increased anxiety about storms and snowfall, fears and anxiety about winter related issues: falling, power outages, transportation challenges and perhaps winter related sickness. It becomes a season of added vulnerability.
Be alert for changes in behavior. Lack of interest, decreased appetite, flat affect, refusal of invitations are warning signs that your elder is at risk. Take inventory. Proactive always beats… Reactive.
Many seniors have old lighting fixtures and use very low wattage bulbs. Brighten it up. Put lights on timers around the house and set them to go on in late afternoon. This will ease the arrival of the early darkness. Use Spotify or Pandora to bring in the happy sounds of the big bands, music of their youth. A quick visit or check in phone call, a couple of greeting cards a week. All easy, low impact interventions that can have a huge payoff, to isolated elders.
If the blues are closer to Navy than not, a visit to the PCP may be needed. More intervention may be required. The worse thing to do is … nothing at all. Sure, spring is coming…but intervention now, may be just what the Dr. ordered.
Joanne MacInnis, RN – President, Aberdeen Home Care, Inc.
This article is brought to you by the Cape Ann Chamber Health & Wellness Committee