If you are a Michigan caregiver for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you might be struggling with a case of cabin fever or the winter blues. It is fairly common this time of year. Many caregivers hesitate to venture out because they fear taking their aging family member out in winter weather may cause them to experience a fall or catch the flu. It can make for long days and weeks.

Beating the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Blues This Winter

We’ve pulled together a few ideas that might help you shake off the winter blues:

  1. Seasonal Affective Disorder: You first want to make sure your case of the blues isn’t something more serious like Seasonal Affective Disorder. Reading more about the symptoms of SAD may help you decide. If they sound a little too familiar, talk with your primary care physician. He or she will recommend the best approach for getting back on track.
  2. Exercise: The endorphins released in your body when you exercise are great for lifting spirits and elevating mood. If winter has you trapped indoors and unable to enjoy a walk outside, consider investing in a treadmill or an exercise bike. Health professionals recommend a combined total 30 minutes of daily exercise to help keep you mentally and physically fit.
  3. Practice Good Nutrition: When your eating habits are unhealthy, energy level can go up and down like a rollercoaster throughout the day. To help stabilize your blood sugars and your mood, stick to a diet rich in complex carbohydrates.
  4. Check Your Vitamin D: In climates winters are cold like those we have in Michigan, rates of vitamin D deficiency are higher. Because most of us don’t spend much time outdoors soaking up sunlight when it is cold, our bodies don’t produce much of this essential vitamin. A vitamin D deficiency can contribute to feelings of sadness and depression. Talk with your primary care physician about having yours checked and to get their advice on taking a supplement during the winter.
  5. Sleep: Don’t overlook the restorative benefits of sleep when your mood is low. You don’t want to hibernate and sleep too much, but you want to try to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.
  6. Limit Alcohol: Limit your alcohol intake. Studies show alcohol only makes blue moods worse. Sticking with one or two glasses of alcohol each week might help you kick the blues this winter.
  7. Respite Care: Take advantage of respite services offered at local adult day centers and senior living communities. Use the time your senior loved is there to give yourself some “me” time. Schedule a pampering pedicure or a lunch date with friends.

We hope these tips help you overcome the caregiver blues this winter!


Heritage Senior Communities is pleased to announce that our newest community is open in Holland, Michigan. The Village at Appledorn West offers adults over the age of 55 one- and two-bedroom independent living apartments. The campus will also be home to an assisted living community that is projected to open in the spring of 2015.


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