Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, can impact anyone. But seniors often struggle with SAD during the fall and winter. When the days get shorter and the temperature gets colder, seniors can start to feel down, “blue”, or listless. These feelings can lead to a depression that can last several months.
SAD can strike at any time when the days get shorter, but typically seniors are affected simultaneously each year. Knowing that SAD is on the horizon means you and your senior loved one should take steps now to prevent it.
If your senior parent is prone to depression or has had bouts of SAD before, there are some things you and your parent can do right now to prevent SAD from being a problem this winter. To help prevent the winter blues, you and your parent can:
Prepare For What’s Coming
It’s not just the house that needs to be prepared for the changing seasons. Seniors can benefit from changing some light bulbs in their homes to natural light bulbs that mimic the light of the sun. It’s also a good idea to buy a sun lamp that will give seniors the same warmth and light they would get outside. Using one of these lamps on dark cold days can be a great way to banish those winter blues.
Meditation has many benefits for seniors, including better sleep and lower depression rates. Now is a great time for seniors to start meditating, so they will be in a much better headspace and ready to handle the short days and darkness of the winter season. There are online classes, smart phone apps, and even in-person groups where seniors can learn more about meditation and start practicing it.
Companion Care At Home
Another way seniors can start preparing for the winter is to get companion care at home. With companion care at home, seniors won’t be alone or lonely when the winter comes. Finding a care provider now will give seniors time to develop a good relationship with a care provider, so they can spend the winter talking, laughing, and doing activities with a trusted friend.
Make The Most Of The Daylight
Seniors worried about SAD and their families should make the most of the fall when there are still relatively long days and lots of daylight. Going for day hikes, taking walks around the neighborhood, going for drives to admire the fall foliage, and doing other outdoor activities are all fantastic for seniors. When the days get shorter, seniors can still go outside, as long as they bundle up and take walks around the neighborhood or long drives to see the holiday lights.
The most important thing is that seniors get outside and get some natural light each day. That daily dose of natural light will help seniors get through winter without having to suffer from SAD as much as they have in the past.