9 Things Mom Can Do During the Winter Doldrums
"What do I do with my mother during the dreary days of winter? She has nothing to do. Mom gets around with a walker and is of reasonably sound mind, but she's dragging me down. Winter is extremely difficult to manage, as it is challenging enough already to take her out for activities in warmer weather. Even a trip to the mailbox is too hazardous right now. It’s a little bit depressing for her to hang around the house all day. What do I do with her?" - READER
The holidays are over, the parties are finished, and the dog days of winter are upon us. Unless you live in the south, the months of January to March can have particularly dreary weather. So, how do you keep Mom’s spirits up until spring, when the weather helps us all feel rejuvenated?
I am going to give you a list of things to try that with your mother that may turn her mood to a more hopeful one.
1. A Spring Planting Plan
Ask Mom to do a spring planting plan. She may have a garden, flower bed, or simply pots to plant. If Mom is not an internet user, get books from the library or garden catalogs for her to study. Have her select the flowers or veggies to plant and lay out the plan.
Have Mother study cookbooks, searching for interesting recipes to try. I suggest one per week. Even if she cannot cook, she can plan the shopping list for needed ingredients.
3. Write Letters
Suggest that Mother write a letter to each of her siblings, grandchildren, cousins, or friends. She may recall the fun times she had with them, her plans for spring, what she is doing now, etc. People still love receiving a letter. She might get some fun mail back.
4. Fitness Programs
A good way to fight the winter doldrums is a fitness program. There are such things as "chair exercise programs" that are quite effective forelderly. Fifteen minutes per day could make a drastic difference in her life.
Start a puzzle. They come in all sizes and will pass hours of time.
6. Handmade Cards
Get Mother the tools to make handmade cards for next Christmas. Cut interesting parts from the cards received this past Christmas and design cards that will be ready for next year.
7. Books & Movies to Share
Ask Mother to hunt for good books or movies and to create a list for the two of you. She can read book and movie reviews, selecting titles based on your interests.
8. Phone Calls
Have Mom reach out and call one child, grandchild, sibling, cousin, or friend per day just to chat. So often we sit around and wait for people to call us. Why not be the one who reaches out?
9. Tea Party... Seriously!
Have Mother plan a tea party. Invite a few neighbors, a couple of friends, grandchildren, or any small group that she would enjoy. Planning will take time and mental energy. The tea party can be lots of fun for all.
There are numerous other ways to make winter more enjoyable, she just needs to try. With your assistance, she can find things to do and look forward to. It takes a little initiative, however. Hopefully, you can be the driving force if she does not possess it within.
I wish you the best on your journey with Mom.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
Written by CEO, Mary Haynor, this newsletter is packed with useful tips, resources and practices that will make the lives of family caregivers easier.Learn More...
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