Can I Help Elderly Relatives with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
March 20, 2019
Senior Care Menlo Park CA: Can I Help Elderly Relatives with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
It may seem as if your aging loved one gets particularly lethargic, blue or distressed in the late winter months. You may just be chalking it up to post-holiday letdown, but many people find that the months of January, February and March are particularly hard on their mental health. For those that suffer from seasonal depression, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, there are some things that family caregivers and senior care providers can do in the very early spring that can alleviate some of the worst days.
When seniors have SAD, they experience depression that can really cause their quality of life to take a dive. Symptoms of depression include mood swings, guilty feelings, irritability, hopelessness, disinterest in socializing, and thoughts of suicide. Researchers think that the onset of seasonal depression has a lot to do with the drop in exposure to the sun’s rays, which creates vitamin D in the body. Lack of UV rays can affect seniors in other ways, and being cooped up all winter gives sensitive people the perfect opening for seasonal depression to develop.
Here are some of the things that family caregivers and senior care providers can do in the late winter/early spring to hasten the departure of SAD in elderly relatives:
Focus on Healthy Eating Habits: Good health comes from within and enjoying a healthy diet is one way that seniors can fight Seasonal Affective Disorder
Get as Much Natural Light as Possible: With a decline in exposure to sunlight, it’s just a matter of time before someone develops SAD. Family caregivers and senior care providers can help elderly adults get more exposure on sunny days, because seniors aren’t often able to do so themselves. From sitting in a sunny spot on the back porch to taking a walk with a senior care provider, seniors will benefit when they can soak up the sun.
Plan Outings in the Community: Ice and snow can really thwart even the best-laid plans as the danger for travel problems and slip and fall accidents grows with the snowfall. When spring weather comes to the area, family caregivers and senior care providers and start to make plans for going to various community events. From picnics and farmers markets to walks in the park or seeing a local tourist hot spot, seniors can have something to look forward to as spring approaches.
Seasonal affective disorder is a serious condition that has the potential to stir up depression and other mental health issues in seniors. When the month of March approaches, with the promise of early spring, it’s a good time for family caregivers to start implementing good habits for aging adults to shake off the winter blues and embrace the changes ahead.