During the winter months, you probably worry about hypothermia or your parents falling, but your aging parents are also at risk for another hazard brought on by winter weather – seasonal affective disorder. This disorder, sometimes referred to as SAD, is a specific type of depression that often hits during the winter, and since winter weather makes it even harder for aging seniors with disabilities to get out of the house, seniors are at risk for developing this type of depression. Keep your loved one from sinking into depression this winter by engaging your aging parent in some fun winter activities.
- Have an Indoor Picnic
- Head to an Ice Skating Event
- Do Some Baking Together
- Take a Bus Tour of a Nearby City
- Bundle Up for Some Stargazing
- Visit an Indoor Arboretum
- Winter Movie Night
- Take a Tour of Holiday Lights
- Check Out Holiday Shows
- Take a Class to Learn a New Skill
- Whip Up Some Snow Cream
Even if the weather outside is frightful, you can still have a picnic with your aging parent to brighten their day. Use picnic themed paper goods, have a picnic basket full of foods, turn on a nature track with chirping birds, and burn a candle that smells like spring. Whip up some tasty picnic foods like fried chicken, burgers, and potato salad, then top that off with a slice of apple pie.
During the winter months, many ice arenas have skating classes that put on recitals or shows. It’s the perfect opportunity to take your parent to a fun event that’s budget-friendly. Grab some hot coffee, cider, or cocoa to take along with you and head out to the ice arena to see what your local kids can do.
As the holidays approach, there are plenty of delicious treats to make, so spend a day in the kitchen with your aging parent doing some baking. Tasty home-baked treats are irresistible, especially when it’s chilly outdoors, and spending time in the warm kitchen is a perfect way to spend a snowy, cold day. For parents that are new to baking, come up with a simple recipe. However, if your parent is a baking pro, let them teach you a favorite secret recipe. When you’re done, sit down with a warm drink and enjoy tasting your home-baked treats.
If you happen to live fairly close to a large city, many cities offer fun bus tours, which are perfect for cold winter days. (Check out some Philly bus tour opportunities here!) You and your loved one can enjoy the beauty of the season without tiring your feet or getting cold. It’s an easy, low-stress way to get an aging parent out of the house for some fun this winter.
With early sunsets and crisp nights, it’s a great time to check out the night sky. Bundle up with your loved one and head outdoors for a bit to look at beautiful stars, the moon, and constellations. If you have a telescope, bring it outdoors and enjoy viewing the beauty in the sky together. Just make sure you don’t stay out in the cold too long, and have a nice cup of hot chocolate waiting when you go inside.
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Winter days can be a bit gloomy, which can fuel seasonal affective disorder. Brighten your loved one’s day by heading to an indoor arboretum. (Here’s a list of Philadelphia’s top arboretums) Your parent will enjoy being surrounded by lush greenery and colorful flowers. If you don’t have a local indoor arboretum to enjoy, consider growing some plants together to add color and life to your day.
Pop some popcorn, make some warm drinks, and snuggle up with a blanket along with your parent for a winter movie night. Come up with a list of several winter or holiday movies you both enjoy and take a day for a winter movie marathon. You can even invite other family members or friends over for a day of movies and laughter. Some great winter and holiday movie ideas include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Elf, A Christmas Story, and The Grinch.
Many cities have multiple neighborhoods that do incredible light displays for the holidays. Some even have organized drives that allow you to slowly wind through streets at night so you’re able to enjoy all the seasonal decorations and lights on display. Take a drive to see local light displays, or if you want to splurge a bit, consider doing a limo tour of the lights so you can enjoy snacking and drink seasonal beverages while you see all the incredible holiday displays. Top it off by tuning into some holiday music to set the mood.
Check out this awesome resource of Philadelphia’s top places to view holiday lights!
Taking in a holiday show together is a perfect way to cheer up your aging parent and beat the winter blues. Check both amateur and professional listings in your area. Many churches, community theaters, and schools do holiday plays, and they are inexpensive or even free. Local theaters often put in popular holiday productions like White Christmas or The Grinch. You may even want to head to a winter symphony performance or take in a beautiful ballet of The Nutcracker.
Learning a new skill is always fun, especially if you do it together with your parent. Not only is it a great way to reduce the risk of depression during the winter, learning new skills can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in aging adults. Ask your parent if there’s a skill they’ve always wanted to learn, such as knitting, woodworking, a new language, singing, or quilting. You can do weekly classes together that make the winter months fly by.
Your loved one probably remembers the days where making homemade ice cream with snow was popular, and it’s a fun activity to do together that will make your parent feel young again. After a fresh snowfall, grab some of the fresh, white snow and add some sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk to the show. Keep stirring until you have a mixture that is the consistency of ice cream. Top with caramel or chocolate sauce, some sprinkles, and don’t forget a bright cherry on top.
The winter months can be tough on seniors, but scheduling fun activities that get them out and about and keep them engaged socially can keep your aging parents full of good cheer this year. Try one of these exciting winter activities to beat the winter blues or come up with some fun ideas together with your parent. Just make sure you keep your parent’s safety in mind if you do go outdoors, since seniors have a greater risk of hyperthermia. Have them wear thick layers, don’t forget mittens and hats, and have a scarf to cover the nose and mouth.
Take precautions to avoid falls, since snowy, icy conditions increase the risk of a fall. Make sure your loved one wears boots that have non-skid soles, clear walkways and steps, and ensure walkways are salted to melt ice and avoid slips and falls. If your parent has mobility issues that make activities difficult, consider hiring a professional to help you overcome these challenges. Call us today at (610) 269-2935 to find out how professional caregivers can help you and your aging parent as you plan activities to enjoy the season.
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