Question: My mother lives alone and does not get out of the home easily. I am concerned about her mental health as she spends a lot of time alone. She agrees she needs some outlets, and I would like to know how I can best support her?
Answer: Thank you for the question. Winter can certainly have an impact on our mental health. The combination of winter weather and decreased sunlight can take a toll. There are a variety of things you and your mom could explore to keep her active and engaged through the winter months.
In general, a healthy diet, exercise, and social contact are all things that can promote mental well-being. ADRC offers many of these things! Our monthly magazine or website are good places to see what events are going on here. We offer exercise classes, social clubs, and health and prevention classes. We also offer meals for individuals over the age of 60 and have the Grounded Café if she is looking for something outside of our community café meal.
If your mom is reluctant to come to ADRC initially, we offer tours to help get you acclimated to the agency. We can also talk about transportation resources and other community offerings for her to consider. If she has Medicare for insurance, there is a benefit called Silver Sneakers that will help pay for a gym membership at select locations or online content to promote fitness.
If getting out of the home is a challenge, helping your mom structure her day may help. Help her identify what activities bring her joy. Have her schedule these things so she has an idea of how to spend her day. Is it writing a letter, talking on the phone, having a neighbor visit? Is there a hobby that she has always wanted to try? Any one of these can offer some socialization.
If she is homebound and can’t get out of the home on her own, ADRC does offer the Homebound Meal program, which is not only a meal, but also a check-in as there is some social contact with the volunteer drivers.
If your mom is tech savvy, there are some virtual options she could consider, including our YouTube channel, which offers videos on a variety of topics as well as some exercise classes. If there is a class that is virtual and she does not have the means to participate, we offer iPads to help her access the online content. The library also offers online content including books and magazines. If your mom has access to the internet but doesn’t feel comfortable navigating her technology, we have volunteers who offer one-on-one appointments to help teach her.
Helping your mom connect with ADRC to discuss her unique situation is a good place to start to learn what is available in the area. Give us a call at (920) 448-4300.