Are you feeling SAD? Learn more about Seasonal Affective Disorder!


sad senior on couch

Are you feeling SAD? Learn more about Seasonal Affective Disorder!

Winter months can be rough on most however, this is particularly true for older adults. With a decrease in sunlight and an increase in extreme cold weather, older adults are more at risk for falls and are more likely to be socially isolated in the colder months. Due to snowy and icy conditions, leaving home becomes more difficult and strenuous.

Older adults are particularly at risk for "SAD" which refers to seasonal affective disorder. “SAD" is a form of depression that cycles with the seasons. It can occur during any time of the year, but it typically affects people during the winter months”. The lack of sunlight can play a role in depression, especially for those who spend most of their days at home.

These effects can be worsened if a person cannot or does not want to regularly spend time outdoors, which is particularly impactful to those who are housebound or live in areas prone to ice and snow.

Some symptoms to look out for include:

  • Hopelessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Changes in appetite and sleeping habits
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in socializing and other activities

What can you do to alleviate symptoms?

  • Get a good nights sleep
  • Listen to music to create a fun home environment
  • Change your diet to avoid processed foods or sugars
  • Meditate
  • Light physical activities such as : tai chi or yoga
  • Encourage visits with family and friends

If you believe you or someone you know may be experiencing SAD, urge them to speak with their family doctor to determine a plan in order to live a long, healthy and meaningful life.

Sources:

  1. https://www.iadvanceseniorcare.com/article/winter-depression-elderly-can-be-sad
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/in-depth/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/art-20048298?pg=2

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