How Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Can Impact Seniors

As the seasons change, so do people's energies and moods. These changes in the environment might trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in some individuals. This kind of depression affects a large number of senior citizens in Canada. The health of the elderly depends on our ability to understand SAD and effectively manage it.

Our mission at Senior Home Care by Angels is to assist seniors in continuing to live independently in the comfort of their own homes as they grow older. Improving our clients' quality of life is central to our home care strategy. One way we do this is by supporting them while they make adjustments to their daily routine to deal with the symptoms of chronic health disorders like SAD. If your loved one has been diagnosed with SAD, you can be certain that our caregivers will provide the necessary assistance to help them stay well and happy as they enjoy their remaining years in the comfort of their own home.

What You Should Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder and Its Impact on Seniors

Have you heard of SAD? What are the most common signs of this disorder? How might senior home care assistance benefit those with SAD? Families should be aware of the following information about this condition:

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a kind of seasonal depression that, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, may become more severe throughout certain seasons of the year. Because of seasonal changes in temperature and day length, your elderly loved one's mood could shift if they suffer from SAD. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) usually last for about four to five months out of the year for seniors.

Some of the most common symptoms of SAD include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiousness or even feeling “empty"
  • Decreased interest or enjoyment of hobbies and activities
  • Feeling fatigued or slowed down
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Changes in appetite, weight and sleep patterns

Many individuals who have Seasonal Affective Disorder have winter-pattern SAD, which often manifests during the winter and fall months due to the reduction in daylight hours. Some people, however, experience symptoms of SAD in the spring and summer months; this condition is known as summer-pattern SAD. The signs of winter-pattern and summer-pattern SAD are a little different.

Symptoms of winter-pattern SAD include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Overeating

Symptoms of summer-pattern SAD include:

  • Weight loss as a result of a poor appetite
  • Trouble sleeping due to restlessness and agitation
  • Violent or aggressive behavior
  • Feelings of anxiety

Scientists still don't know what triggers Seasonal Affective Disorder. But here are some theories that might explain the possible causes:

  • Sunlight's impact on our biological clocks - The quantity of daylight varies throughout the year in relation to the changing seasons. The biological clocks that regulate our mood, sleep, and hormones are affected by sunlight. People with SAD may find it difficult to adapt to the changes in daylight hours that occur with each season's arrival and departure.
  • Vitamin D - Vitamin D regulates serotonin levels, and sunshine is the primary source of vitamin D for humans. As a consequence of lower vitamin D levels brought on by less daylight, those suffering from winter-pattern SAD may feel lethargic and down, while those suffering from summer-pattern SAD may experience an overwhelming surge of energy that is hard to manage due to increased sunlight exposure.
  • Melatonin - Melatonin has the ability to affect physiological sleep cycles and mood. Since their bodies produce more melatonin in response to less sunlight, people with winter-pattern seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may feel sleepier during the colder months. On the other hand, people with summer-pattern SAD may have trouble sleeping during the warmer months due to less melatonin production by their bodies.

How Seasonal Affective Disorder Impacts Seniors

Caregivers and loved ones must be on the lookout for these subtle symptoms of SAD in order to diagnose the condition. Seasonal Affective Disorder has the potential to exacerbate chronic illnesses in seniors, including as diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline. It is important to recognize the impact of the changing seasons on people's mental health in order to assist them in managing and coping with it.

How Home Care from Senior Home Care by Angels Can Help with Managing Symptoms of SAD

The compassionate and all-encompassing home care services provided by Senior Home Care by Angels address the practical and psychological requirements of Canadian elders. Our caregivers can alleviate the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder in our elderly clients by creating a nurturing environment.

One important aspect of coping with SAD is making sure you receive enough natural light. If your loved one has trouble getting enough sunshine in their home, our caregivers can assist them in going outside more, ensure they receive a daily walk, and even move furniture to maximize sunlight exposure. These simple fixes have the potential to have a major impact on both their mood and their levels of energy.

Feelings of alienation and loneliness may worsen the impact of SAD. In order to assist your loved one overcome the negative effects of withdrawing from society, Senior Home Care by Angels provides companion care. Our caregivers can have meaningful conversations with your loved one and offer emotional support. A social connection may have a profoundly positive effect on the mental health of seniors with SAD.

Our staff at Senior Home Care by Angels is sensitive to the special requirements of our elderly clients and works together with their families to develop personalized care plans. With this individualized approach to home care, seniors with SAD are sure to get timely support when they need it.

It is essential to have an all-encompassing approach that takes into account the physical and emotional well-being of the elderly while dealing with SAD. With the assistance of the compassionate and understanding caregivers at Senior Home Care by Angels, seniors may overcome the challenges of SAD and age in place with ease.

To learn how our caregivers can help your loved one, contact your local Senior Home Care by Angels office today.

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