With cold weather and more hours of darkness than light, winter blues can
be hard to avoid. For many people, wintertime depression can affect mood,
behavior, and enjoyment of holidays and gatherings. Many seniors are affected
by wintertime depression, often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder
(or SAD). With
specialized home care, depression can be managed, but it is important to have an understanding
of how seasonal depression affects seniors. Continue reading to learn
more about how seniors are impacted by depression during the winter as
well as what can be done to overcome depression.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and how does it affect seniors?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) goes by many names:
seasonal depression, wintertime depression, and winter blues. While this mood disorder can
affect anyone, it is especially prevalent in seniors. Depression can be
amplified with chronic conditions or health issues that are common among
seniors. It can also be spurred on by the loss of a friend, isolation,
lack of exercise, memory loss, and major lifestyle changes—all common
occurrences for seniors. The symptoms of seasonal depression in seniors
may not be easy to notice right away, especially symptoms like weight
loss and loss of appetite, which could represent other problems.
How can you overcome seasonal depression?
For seniors, it is sometimes harder to get outside during the winter. However,
going outside and having exposure to sunlight can help minimize the symptoms
of seasonal depression. In addition to getting outside, there are other
activities that can help with depression. Exercise produces endorphins
that can balance out serotonin deficits that cause feelings of depression.
Whether it is a walk outside or a few laps around a shopping mall, movement
can help relieve symptoms of depression. Engaging in social activities
and volunteering are also great ways for seniors to avoid letting seasonal
depression affect daily life.
With in-home elderly care, trained caregivers from Home Helpers are able
to implement a total care plan to engage seniors during the winter. Our
friendly visit program in Philadelphia provides social in-home visits. Call (215) 334-2600 to find out more.