Daylight Savings and Senior Depression
For most, setting back the clock back an hour in the fall means an extra hour is virtually added to your day. While we may appreciate an extra hour to sleep later or accomplish a task, for seniors, it could trigger seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a cyclical form of depression that typically occurs during wintertime. While the cause of SAD is unknown, the lack of light can affect biological function, such as melatonin production. Here’s how you can help your elderly loved one cope with the darker winter days.
Know the Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Symptoms of SAD may include the following:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns — sleeping too much or not being able to fall asleep
- Change in appetite
- No longer interested in activities that were once enjoyed
How You Can Help Seniors Cope
Keeping your elderly loved one motivated to participate in the activities they used to enjoy can help stave off symptoms of SAD. Here are some other ways you can help them cope:
- Get out during the day and get as much exposure to sunlight as possible
- Spend time with friends and family
- Get physical exercise
- Eat a well-balanced diet
When You Need Professional Help
If your elderly loved one doesn’t seem to show improvement or seems to go deeper into a depressed state, it’s imperative to contact their doctor as soon as possible. A full evaluation of their symptoms can get them the help they need. It’s also vital for them to be checked for other underlying problems to their mental health changes.
Contact an Assisted Living Community
Staying mentally healthy can be challenging for some elderly seniors. The Arbors Assisted Living is a community that fosters healthy habits, and we encourage our residents to participate in social and physical activities that can improve overall mental health. For other useful tips and information about senior health and wellness, visit our blog!
If you’re interested in learning more, visit The Arbors Assisted Living community to schedule a tour.