How we're responding to COVID-19

5 Tips to Avoid Seasonal Depression

Following the holiday season, many people, from children to senior citizens, describe feeling “blue” or “flat.” The post-holiday lull is incredibly common as family visits and celebrations come to an end. Occasionally however, these blue feelings can be the result of something more serious: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

SAD can often be overlooked for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease because many of the symptoms overlap. Memory issues already have the potential to cause confusion and anxiety, but SAD becomes a greater concern when seasonal changes limit sunlight exposure and increased isolation creates an atmosphere for depression to grow. 

SAD can manifest with the following symptoms: 

  • Persistent dark, sad, or irritable moods
  • Loss of energy and fatigue
  • Lack of self care
  • Sleep issues (too much or too little)
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Increased social isolation
  • Trouble concentrating or getting interested

Keep a close eye on your loved ones suffering from memory issues during the colder months in order to identify if they’re experiencing symptoms of SAD. As family members and caretakers, you will be the first to notice when their dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease symptoms change or increase. Here are five tips to brighten your loved one’s winter days and keep SAD away:

1. Focus on Food

Food is the number one way to get your loved one the nutrients they need. Focus on preparing or requesting a healthy, fresh, balanced diet high in protein and low in processed sugars. Regular nutritious meals will help keep their energy levels up and their immune systems strong.

2. Encourage Exercise

Exercising for 30 minutes daily positively impacts serotonin levels in the brain. Increased serotonin can improve your loved one’s mood, appetite, and sleep cycles. Encourage non-strenuous activities such as walking, swimming, or stretching.

3. Massage Their Mind

During the colder months, it’s common to feel mentally and physically drained. To reduce stress, introduce your loved ones to meditation, journaling, or puzzles. Puzzles are also an effective way to improve short-term memory.

4. Schedule Socializing

Following a busy holiday season, the sudden lack of social gatherings can bring feelings of loneliness. Regularly scheduled visits will give your loved one something consistent to look forward to.

5. Soak Up The Sun

Lack of vitamin D can be a major culprit during the winter months. If going outside or sitting near a window is not cutting it, think about investing in a “sun lamp” for your loved one to sit near each day.

Willow River is Here to Help

If you are ready to speak to a professional, Willow River can help answer your questions and provide the resources you’re looking for. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 to start the conversation today.