During the coldest months of the year, your residents need to stay active and stimulated. Unfortunately, this task can be difficult as temperatures drop and it becomes more difficult to head outside. As a result, winter can make it harder for everyone to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Also, the ice and snow that fall during these months can create hazardous conditions for seniors. Icy surfaces leave seniors more susceptible to falls that can cause serious harm. 

It is not only physical problems that cause problems during the winter. Seniors, in particular, can also suffer mental health consequences due to prolonged inactivity. Residents in your nursing home may become prone to boredom because they are stuck inside. This lack of activity can lead to mental health problems unless met with activity and interaction. 

Check out this list of the best ways to keep your residents stimulated and active during the winter months!

Conduct Physical Exercises Indoors

Offering exercises can be a great way to help your residents stay active. You can provide these exercises in many ways. Consider hosting a virtual fitness class with a trainer or providing resources like books and videos on physical fitness. Your skilled nursing staff can offer simple indoor exercises that will keep your residents healthy and happy throughout winter. For example, walks through the hallways of your facility and light weight-lifting activities are both great ways to keep seniors active. They can even use commonplace items, such as soup cans, for their weights! The Mayo Clinic suggests that seniors aim for 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week

We recommend incorporating many different exercises in your routine to reduce boredom and lower the risk of injury. Breaking up exercises into different categories is a great way to achieve this. This breakdown also allows you to create several exercise classes that focus on different areas that benefit seniors. For example, balance exercises can help reduce the risk of falls (something that happens all too often to seniors). Flexibility exercises help improve mobility, and strength exercises provide muscle stimulation. These exercises can give your residents greater independence by making everyday tasks easier. 

These exercises, especially done in a group, will provide plenty of opportunities for your residents to remain stimulated! 

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Getting out during the cold and dark days of the winter season can be difficult. Still, it can also be very beneficial for your residents. Outdoor activities on days where there is still some sun can help to increase vitamin D levels. Going on even a short walk can benefit seniors’ physical and mental health. 

But, there are certain things you should keep in mind. For instance, ensure that the day you have chosen for your outing has a clear forecast for the whole day (you do not want bad weather to surprise you!). Second, plan your trips to ensure that the entire route is safe and free from ice and debris. Finally, ensure that your residents have the appropriate clothing, from hats to shoes, to keep everyone warm, dry, and comfortable.

Host A Fun Event

Holding social events is a great way to bring your nursing home community together and keep residents excited. Events can take place indoors or outdoors (again, weather permitting). They can include various activities, from picnics to board games. Isolation can be one of the main problems during the winter months. This lack of social contact can result in health problems such as depression. Holding social events provides a way for your residents to engage in much-needed social interaction. It can be very beneficial to their mental and physical health when done correctly. 

Staying Active Matters

The bottom line is that vital to make sure that your nursing home residents keep active and stimulated during the cold winter months. Following the activities described here can help you go a long way. 

If you are interested in promoting your facility’s services, the team at NursingMore is here to help.