When the sun fails to shine through the clouds and the weather turns cold a lot of us get a little blue. My daddy is one who hates the winter. He’s like an old bear who decides it’s time to hibernate. He turns up the heat, gets in his recliner and chooses to snooze — a lot!
“Your daddy is sleeping all the time,” says my mother to me on a regular basis. “He’s just not doing well.”
“Mama, don’t you remember last year at this time and the year before that?” I reply. “He hates the winter. He hates to be cold. He always gets a little down around this time of year.”
This is the conversation my mama and I have had for the past five years. She worries, then daddy worries.
“Angel, you know I probably won’t be around next year,” he said to me yesterday.
That’s when I get perturbed.
“Now hold on a minute, Daddy!” I say to him looking straight into his eyes. “You’re not going anywhere. You go through this every year. I refuse to start grieving a minute before its necessary.”
Daddy smiled and then we laughed.
The truth is the winter is hard on a lot of people. It’s harder to get outside (unless you’re my mother who goes out rain or shine). The sun is a healer. The more rays we can get the better we will feel. So I encourage my daddy to take a little walk every day and especially when the sun is shining. With some encouragement, he will get out on the riding mower and that’s really good for him. It not only gives him some sun but makes him feel useful.
Drink, Daddy, Drink
I also have to strongly remind my daddy to drink lots of water. In the winter we don’t get our core body temperatures up so we don’t feel as thirsty as we do in good weather. Dehydration is an enemy of us all but especially to the elderly. Dehydration is close to the top of the list for why elders are hospitalized.
Soups are a great way to give your elder extra fluids and while it’s cooking, it hydrates the air.
Winter Skin Care
Both my parents have trouble with their skin in the winter. They keep the heaters going which dries out the air which dries out their skin. Daddy itches. Mama’s face gets really dry. Daddy starts scratching and Mama’s face starts breaking out. So my last trip to town I got some aloe vera gel and vitamin E oil for them both. Remember older skin is very sensitive. Don’t ever buy any lotions with fragrance or dyes. I also got Mama some pure lanolin. It’s really thick and takes a while on the skin before you can smooth it out but it is a wonder substance. It’s actually produced for nursing women to put on their breasts because it won’t harm a baby but it works great as a super skin hydrator.
I do my best to drop in on my parents more often in the wintertime. I’ll bring them something to eat or just stop in for a chat. I hope it makes them feel a little better. I know it does wonders for me.