Guest Blog Post: Reducing Winter Loneliness in the Elderly

January 25, 2013

By: Wendy Drastal, RN
Vice President, HomeCare, Inc., a home care provider in the Merrimack Valley, Northeastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. To learn more visit their web site at www.HomeCareInc.org.

The cold and snowy winter months can be challenging for many people.  A trip outside, even for a brief errand, can be both difficult and dangerous.  The winter can be especially treacherous for the elderly, who are at risk for broken bones from falls on ice, breathing problems caused by cold air, hypothermia and frost bite.  Many hold less body heat due to a slower metabolism and reduced physical activity, so they feel the cold more severely.  And, as people age, the ability to feel changes in temperature decreases, making it important for elders to monitor the house temperature and to dress in layers.

For the elderly, the winter months can also be long and lonely.  With the holidays over and family members back to work and family responsibilities, January and February can be especially lonely months for the elderly who find themselves homebound with fewer social activities and outside contact.

So what can you do to help an elderly family member, friend or neighbor reduce the isolation and loneliness of winter?

  • Make it a New Year’s resolution to visit once a week for a meal, cup of coffee or just to socialize for an hour or two.
  • Encourage other family members to visit, call or e-mail on a regular basis.
  • Contact your local senior center or community center to check for opportunities for group meals, social programs and outings, or even friendly visitor programs.
  • Buy, fill and hang a bird feeder in a backyard or attach it directly on a window.  Birding activity can be very entertaining and a great topic for conversation.
  • Check the local library for a mobile book loaning program, or offer to pick up and drop off books and magazines.
  • Send a letter.  An old-fashioned letter in today’s age of electronic communication can mean a lot to the elderly and bring a sense of anticipation while awaiting a mail delivery.  Enclose a couple of pictures for added enjoyment.
  • Plan an occasional outing for lunch, a trip to the barber or hairdresser, or for some shopping.

Finally watch for signs of depression.  The elderly are at increased risk for depression due to life changes, medication and illness.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


Caregiver Videos: What to Expect When Bringing An Aide Into Your Home

January 24, 2013

Earlier this month, we introduced the Care Giver Video Resource Center, our YouTube series for family care providers about home care and home care agencies.

In the third video in the series, Holly Chaffee, RN, BSN, MSN of Porchlight VNA demonstrates the knowledge, respect for privacy, and professionalism you can expect from a home care caregiver.

To view the full series, visit our YouTube channel.  To access library of hundreds of care giver resources on a variety of subjects, visit www.eldercareskills.org, who produced the videos with us.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


Caregiver Videos: Working Effectively With An Agency

January 14, 2013

Last week, we introduced the Care Giver Video Resource Center, our YouTube series for family care providers about home care and home care agencies.

In the second video in the series, Melanie Lewis & Jennifer St. Onge of Guardian Angel Senior Services, Inc. answer questions from family care giver Lisa Krauss about the care her mother receives.

Topics include:

  • Communicating with the agency;
  • Rescheduling an appointment;
  • Understanding your service agreement/contract;
  • Can agency care givers help with financial matters?

To view the full series, visit our YouTube channel.  To access library of hundreds of care giver resources on a variety of subjects, visit www.eldercareskills.org, who produced the videos with us.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


%d bloggers like this: