Seasonal depression is also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). People with SAD experience symptoms of depression that are associated with changing seasons. Most of the time, SAD occurs during the fall and winter months. Doctors aren’t sure why some people get SAD, but it may have to do with the way changing seasons affect the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm. Whatever the cause, it can be difficult to live with seasonal depression.
If your older family member has SAD, here are 4 ways you can help them to ease the symptoms.
1: Take Advantage of Sunshine
The Mayo Clinic recommends opening blinds and curtains to let more sunshine into the home. If there are tree branches that block the sun, consider trimming them. Create a comfy place to sit near the sunniest window in the house. Encourage the older adult to sit there for a while each day.
A home care services provider can open the blinds and curtains each morning. They can also sit with the senior in their sunny spot to keep them company.
2: Try a Light Box
Light therapy is commonly used to treat SAD. You can purchase a light therapy box online and in some stores. Light therapy boxes give off light that mimics sunlight. Typically, doctors recommend that a person using light therapy sits in front of the box for about 30 minutes each day.
A home care services can remind the senior to use the light box each day, helping them to turn it on and get seated comfortably in front of it.
3: Encourage Physical Activity
People with SAD may feel lethargic and fatigued. Physical activity can help to increase energy levels and make the older adult feel better. It can also reduce anxiety and stress.
A home care services provider can assist your older relative to be more physically active in several ways. They can involve them in household activities or go for walks with them. Or, an elderly care provider can drive the senior to the gym to use the equipment there or take a group class.
4: Maintain a Regular Schedule
SAD can cause people to have sleep problems. They may struggle to fall asleep at night or sleep too much. Experts recommend adhering to a regular schedule so that the body is exposed to light at the same time each day. In addition, a regular waking and sleeping schedule can improve sleep.
A home care services provider can help seniors to keep to a schedule by coming over to get them up each morning and ready to start their day. They can also assist seniors to go to bed at the same time each night.