Many of us experience the winter blues. As we contend with less light and colder temperatures, seasonal depression is only natural. For seniors and others who have limited mobility, those winter blues are cause for concern due to the severe risks posed by elderly depression. These individuals are more prone to be isolated from others, and winter weather makes escaping that isolation even harder.
On top of all of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has created extreme isolation issues for just about everyone this year. One recent study from the University of Washington referred to this combination of isolation and COVID-19 as the “double pandemic.”
The effects of seasonal depression (e.g., changes in appetite, fatigue, sadness, and feelings of hopelessness) are all made worse for those who are isolated with the total inability to change their surroundings — and have real-world consequences for more than just mental health. Researchers have found that loneliness is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, dementia, and stroke. During the pandemic, specifically, researchers report seniors have experienced more falls and struggled with weight loss.
With safety measures calling for minimal social gatherings — especially those we saw put in place during the holidays — seniors who already feel isolated may struggle more than usual. In many areas, visits from loved ones outside care facilities are prohibited, which has severe implications for the people inside. Without the ability to hold the hand of a family member or hug a grandchild, these individuals can struggle with their mental health.
Although many people are fortunate to be able to connect with loved ones via technology, many care facilities can’t accommodate virtual visits, which leaves residents feeling completely alone and isolated from the outside world. Given this troubling trend, we must find ways to combat this dark and lonely winter in the months ahead.
The Impact of Seating
When seniors can interact and engage with their environments or others around them, they face a decreased risk of winter depression and the various effects of isolation. Part of ensuring seniors can get that interaction is giving them access to the proper seating and medical equipment.
At Broda, we build every chair to do more than just provide safety and comfort. Our chairs enable people to engage with their surroundings and meet their emotional and physical needs. At a time when depression is a serious threat to seniors, this can make a world of difference.
To help seniors and those with limited mobility make it through the long winter ahead, here are two ways the right chair can help:
1. It allows for a change in surroundings.
A key component of seniors’ mental health is the ability to move around and interact with their surroundings. When they can get out of bed and sit by a window, the natural light helps combat winter depression. Our Tranquille Glider makes this possible by providing a gentle gliding motion that soothes individuals who need a change of scenery, creating a calming effect for users. This glider uses front pivot seat tilt to keep users facing forward instead of looking up at the ceiling — unable to engage with their surroundings.
2. It increases movement.
The right seating also makes it possible for seniors to increase their movement and prevent the physical degradation caused by being stationary in a bed or recliner all day. Chairs like our Encore Pedal wheelchair also have dynamic rocking capabilities, which help maintain the body’s well-being and integrity by offering phenomenal wheelchair mobility.
Winter depression is always a legitimate concern, but it’s a severe threat this year. The months ahead might seem daunting for seniors and people who have limited mobility, but the right seating can make anything feel more bearable. To learn more about seating options and what might be right for you or someone you love, reach out today.
From the entire team at Broda, we want you to know you’re not alone. We’ll get through this winter — and we’ll do it together.