If you’ve ever known someone who was repeatedly sad during the winter or experienced this yourself, you may have had an encounter with seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter depression. While scientists don’t know exactly what causes this cyclical depression that occurs during the winter, there are a number of theories that Dayton part-time care providers will explore. Scientists believe some individuals are more sensitive to and affected by the lack of sunlight during the winter months, which may stimulate a depressive process in the brain. It’s important to remember that any sort of depression is a serious problem and you should get help from a medical professional rather than brushing off the issue.
Seniors Are at Risk
No one knows why seniors are so susceptible to winter depression, but it may be exacerbated when they are unable to get enough sunlight or participate in activities. Inactivity, especially during the winter months, or even age-related brain chemistry may be responsible for a senior’s susceptibility to the disorder.
How to Avoid Winter Depression
Whether your loved one has experienced winter depression before and you’d like to help him or her ward it off this year, or you just want to do everything you can to keep your loved one mentally healthy, there are things you can do that may make your loved one less susceptible to developing winter depression.
• Staying busy and active can be a helpful component in warding off any type of depression. Seniors who spend a great deal of unoccupied time sitting and thinking are more likely to become depressed according to some studies. Help your loved one plan an active, exciting schedule that remains mentally stimulating even when the winter weather is dreary.
• Isolation may contribute to your loved one’s likelihood of developing winter depression. Make sure your loved one has a chance to regularly interact with others in peer groups, or look into at-home care in Dayton for a regular companion. Regular interaction with others is helpful for seniors as it keeps them emotionally and mentally stimulated.
• Have your loved one take advantage of the available natural light during the winter months. Everyone can benefit from exposing him or herself to sunlight on clear winter days as sunlight provides us with a serotonin boost that makes us cheerful. Consider moving your loved one’s favorite chair near a window that is exposed to sunlight during the winter months and encourage him or her to sit there for a little while each day while watching TV or reading a book.
If you’re concerned your loved one is susceptible to winter depression, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our compassionate in-home caregivers will offer companionship and emotional support for your family member throughout the winter season and beyond. We also provide comprehensive dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s home care in Dayton that can help stimulate senior cognition and enhance overall wellbeing. Call us today at (937) 353-1412 to learn more about our services and schedule an in-home consultation.