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How to Identify and Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder in Seniors

Tips to Battle the Winter Blues

The turning of the seasons is a sight to behold. The first glimpses of spring are yellow daffodils and purple crocuses popping up from the freshly thawed ground. Then things start to take off as trees fill out their green foliage during summer days. We all seem to thrive during the warmer months. Most of us feel cheerful throughout the fall and the holidays, even as plants lose their color. For some seniors, the letdown from all the festivities has a different effect that is something more than just the winter blues. It might be a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Learn to identify and fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder so that you can continue enjoying life to the fullest no matter what time of year it is. The supportive staff at Wesley Enhanced Living understands the different emotions seniors go through with each season and are on hand to offer the best care possible. We provide a wide range of opportunities to thwart Old Man Winter’s attempts to bring you down. We offer a variety of living options, from independent living to personal care services, and much more.

5 Most Common Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder

If winter makes you want to stuff yourself with a bunch of carbs and then snuggle down to sleep off the rest of the season like a hibernating bear, then you will want to read on. Here are some symptoms of SAD to look out for:

  1. Feeling sad or moody as the seasons change, especially during winter: If you notice that your feeling of sadness or hopelessness are stronger as winter comes on, then pay close attention to what your body is telling you. This is especially true if you have had this feeling for two years or more.
  2. Low energy levels: Maybe you find ways to avoid doing simple activities because you are too tired. This is another indication that something else is happening.
  3. Changes in appetite. You might notice that you crave a lot of foods full of sugar or carbohydrates, instead of healthier options.
  4. Lack of interest in socializing or other activities. Seniors often struggle staying engaged because of a lack of mobility. Sometimes it gets to the point where you stay secluded and avoid contact with others.
  5. Changes in sleeping patterns. You might start sleeping a lot more or have a hard time staying asleep.

3 Ways to Combat SAD

Living in the Northeast has its benefits. It also has some long cold winters that may leave you wishing for a tropical island. Instead of booking a flight to Tahiti, consider taking these steps to combat SAD:

  1. Focus on your physical health. Now is a great time to practice eating healthy foods that are low in sugar and higher in protein. Also, take some time to exercise by walking at the local mall or taking a class at the community center.
  2. Make your social health a priority. Go to lunch with friends or have them over for dinner once a week. Find ways to volunteer in your community. 
  3. Talk to your doctor about light therapy. Changes in light exposure may be one of the triggers for SAD. Talk to your general practitioner about using light therapy. It takes about 30 minutes a day sitting in front of a light box, but it may help you over the course of winter.

Kick Old Man Winter to the Curb!

Don’t let the winter blues get the best of you; instead, grab onto all life has to offer even in the winter months. Sometimes a change of scenery can help. You may want to consider moving to a continuing care retirement community. At Wesley Enhanced Living, we give our seniors a whole-person view of their Golden Years with many opportunities to grow as a person socially, emotionally, and physically. Our team looks forward to helping you settle in and making new friends at one of our gorgeous campuses. Check us out today!

Wesley Enhanced Living provides high-quality senior retirement communities for you or your loved ones.  Contact one of our Philadelphia area locations and find out why our seniors love where they live. Our staff is happy to discuss your elder’s needs or your own, give you a tour and inform you of our range of services.

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