As the season begins to change from summer to fall, there are a few things we’d like to point out that affect seniors and their comfort and safety at home. First is the change in the amount of daylight. It happens gradually, with just a few minutes less each day between sunrise and sunset. But the lesser amount of light outside may mean less light inside their home as well.
It may be a good idea to check that additional lighting is readily available, and that it’s being used, in your elderly family member’s home. If the interior is dim as light fades in the evening, it becomes a potential safety issue. Are lamps readily available that can be used, and their cords out of the way? Perhaps setting a lamp on a timer so that it comes on as daylight fades would be helpful.
The decrease in daylight also affects some people with what’s known as seasonal affective disorder. Also known as SAD, it’s a form of depression that happens with the seasons, particularly during fall and winter due to the decrease in light. Signs may include a loss of energy, a change in appetite or sleeping habits, irritability or a loss of interest in things around the person. Those with other mental health disorders are often more affected by SAD. Some research shows it is more likely to happen as people age.
It’s a good idea to mention seasonal depression to the physician if you suspect that it is an issue. While some people may need medications, others may benefit from purposeful changes in the home in order to bring in more light. Try opening the blinds or curtains as the days get shorter, they’re no longer needed to keep out the sun’s heat. Turn on more lights in the home to compensate for lessened sunlight. Also, it’s always helpful for people to sit outside to enjoy some time in the sunshine, moderated of course by any limits due to medications they are taking or issues with the skin.
At FootPrints Home Care, our trained caregivers are mindful that a change in the season can mean more light is needed inside. We love taking our clients for a walk or drive to enjoy the outdoors, and we’re especially conscious of maintaining a safe environment in the home. If we can help your family with senior home care, either occasionally or on a 24/7 schedule, please give us a call. Our passion is helping New Mexico families and allowing a parent or loved one to age in place at home.