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How to Combat the “Winter Blues” in Seniors

Is your loved one starting to feel sad after all of the holiday excitement? It’s normal to feel a little “blue” after the holidays pass, but it’s important to distinguish between a quick let down and Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly referred to as SAD. For those who may not be familiar, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that occurs during the winter months when the days are shorter and there is a constant chill in the air. In this article, we will discuss how SAD develops and what you can do to help your senior loved one if they have the “winter blues.” 

What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

The exact cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is unknown, but some mental health professionals believe it is related to the lack of sunlight during this time of year. Older adults that have restricted mobility or live alone are at increased risk for SAD due to decreased exposure to natural sunlight and time spent with others outdoors. Symptoms may include social withdrawal, daytime sleepiness, decreased interest in favorite activities, weight gain and increased appetite especially with cravings for fatty carbohydrates.

Ways to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Non-pharmaceutical treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder are simple and easy to implement right now. Here are some ways to treat SAD from our senior caregivers in Morris County: 

  • Add more light to their living space. Welcoming more light into common areas like the living room, kitchen and bedroom where your loved one spends the most time can make a big difference. For example, move their favorite recliner closer to the window and open the curtains and blinds to allow more natural sunlight into the room.

  • Try different interior design techniques to promote wellness. It’s amazing what a little redecorating can do for our mental health. Bring more life into your loved one’s space by adding a variety of plants. Painting an accent wall a bright color can also be helpful to restoring more positivity.

  • Exercise and a healthy diet are essential. It’s important that your loved one doesn’t succumb to a sedentary lifestyle, especially during these cold, dark winter months. Encourage them to stick with a daily exercise routine, preferably a walk around the neighborhood with a friend nearby to hold them accountable. Combine daily exercise with a well-rounded diet packed with nutrients to keep SAD at bay.

  • Socialize outdoors when possible. Next time the weather permits, visit your loved one, bundle up and go for a walk outside. Spending time outdoors with family and friends can do wonders for your loved one’s happiness and well-being.  

Socialization for seniors in New Jersey

All of our senior living communities in New Jersey place a strong priority on social interactions as part of providing your loved one with the highest quality of care. Socialization plays a strong role in everyone’s life, especially older adults. Keeping seniors regularly engaged with the people around them is known to minimize feelings of isolation or depression, compared to seniors who do not socialize often. 

At our assisted living facility, Lester Senior Living, our care services are in place to minimize daily tasks and annoyances in order to free up more time for our residents to enjoy on-campus activities and connect with other residents, both indoors and outdoors. Some of our favorite social activities include live entertainment from local talent, group dancing classes and activity clubs like knitting, card games and gardening. 

For more information on the activities we offer seniors in New Jersey, call us today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org