Rainy days can be difficult for the elderly. If they’re not generally housebound, they may feel cooped up and bored without their daily walk or the ability to sit outside in the sunshine. Rain makes all of us a bit depressed, with the lack of light making us feel lethargic and gloomy. And since the elderly have a greater tendency toward depression, rain may bother them more than it bothers younger people.
Since none of us has the ability to actually stop rain, the only thing we can do is distract our loved ones from the fact that it is raining. A happy busy day will keep them from looking out the window and wishing for sun. Here are some ways to banish the rain from their thoughts:
A Good Book
There’s nothing like a good book to transport a person into a different world. A comfortable seat, a warm blanket and an engrossing book can keep anyone occupied for hours at a time. If your loved one isn’t able to read to due to eyesight problems, an audio book will do just as well. Or choose a book you both like and read aloud.
Visit a stationery store and stock up on an empty scrapbook, stickers, glue and markers. Gather together family pictures which have never been placed in an album (or print some of your digital files). You can spend a whole afternoon choosing the order of the pictures, deciding where to stick them, pasting them on pages and decorating with captions and stickers. You will likely get lost in telling stories and sharing memories and you’ll lose track of time and of the weather.
Pouring, mixing and shaping cookies is a pastime enjoyed by people of all ages. You may have to do the actual baking yourself but all other stages can be done jointly. If the grandchildren join in the fun, you’ll have more mess but double the fun! Remember that one of the best parts of baking is eating the results afterwards, so be sure to use a recipe that is healthful and contains no forbidden ingredients.
Cards or Board Games
Gin Rummy, Solitaire or Chutes and Ladders can provide entertainment on a rainy day. Get comfortable at a table of the correct height and take out a fun game you haven’t played in a while. It’s important to play a game which your loved one won’t find frustrating, so choose one on the right level for his or her ability to concentrate and make decisions.
Reach Out to Friends
Good company will easily chase away the rainy day blues. Invite a friend or family member to come over for a visit or make phone calls to relatives who live far away. You can even bring over a friend of yours who is comfortable around the elderly and have him or her provide some entertainment for an hour or two. Remind your loved one that he is not alone and that even on a gloomy day he is surrounded by people who care about him.
Don’t forget, rain doesn’t last forever. Keep your loved one warm and occupied while it’s raining and you will barely notice the pitter-patter of rain outside the window. By the time you look outside again, you may see the sun peeking out from behind the clouds.