Helping Elderly Patients Weather the Winter

Home health and hospice care providers often see a rise in senior health problems as the days become shorter and the temperature drops outside. Along with an increase in medical challenges, depression can accompany the change of seasons.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that begins and ends with seasonal changes. Most people who suffer with the “winter blues” begin feeling the effects in the Fall and deal with progressive depression until Spring.

Isolation can easily become a catalyst for depression and it’s unfortunately a situation that many older adults deal with. Seniors with mobility restrictions and limited social interaction are more likely to experience the “winter blues”. Remind your referral network this winter that home care provides social interaction as well as quality health care.

Symptoms of SAD to watch for:

  • Fatigue

  • Reduced energy

  • Heaviness in the arms and legs

  • Loss of concentration

  • Over eating and weight gain

  • Feeling of hopelessness

  • Sleep disruption

  • Loss of interest in usual activities

  • Anxiety

The winter also brings a greater risk of heart complications. According to the AHA, seniors who have cardiovascular conditions may experience side effects when exposed to cold temperatures. Other conditions amplified by the cold temperatures include: joint pain, lung spasms, flu, and pneumonia. Promote your agency’s services this winter and the benefit of including home health, private duty, and hospice as part of a patient’s care team.

How you can promote the advantages of Home Health:

-Stock up on personalized hand sanitizers and distribute them to the offices of your referring physicians.

-Host a “Tips for staying healthy” class for older adults at the senior centers and churches throughout your service area. Focus on cold and Flu prevention and the importance of vaccinations.

 -Promote the advantages of home health care in avoiding exposure to contagions present in doctor’s offices or hospitals.

-Choose our “Stress, Depression at the Holidays” issue for your next newsletter. We offer 42 Home Health and 26 Hospice newsletters personalized to your agency. Be sure to include your referral sources in your mailing.

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