Many people go through short periods of time where they feel sad or not like their usual selves. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.
Seniors are particularly susceptible to SAD due to changes in their physical and emotional well-being as they age. Key symptoms of SAD include:
• Persistent sadness or “low mood”
• Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
• Sleep disturbances (including oversleeping and insomnia)
• Increased irritability
• Difficulty concentrating
• Changes in appetite and/or weight
• Social withdrawal (feeling like “hibernating”)
If you're an adult child or a senior citizen, it's essential to be vigilant for these symptoms during the winter months. Seniors may be less likely to communicate their feelings of sadness, so observing their behavior and moods becomes crucial. Encourage open communication and be attentive to any changes in their daily routines and habits.
One of the most effective ways to address SAD in seniors is by considering a move to an independent living, assisted living, or memory care community. We offer:
• Social connections: Traditions has a built-in support system with peers and staff, reducing the risk of loneliness and isolation, which often worsens SAD symptoms.
• Structured Activities: We provide a wide range of daily activities and events designed to keep residents engaged and active, even during winter.
• Nutrition and Health Care: Traditions offers well-balanced delicious meals. Proper nutrition is the foundation for staying healthy. We also provide 24/7 access to healthcare professionals for all health concerns, big or small. The peace of mind that comes with 24/7 assistance and emergency response services is immeasurable.
• Safe and Comfortable Environment: Camargo was designed with seniors in mind! We have large windows and well-lit common areas to maximize exposure to natural light. A safe and comfortable space offers peace of mind and promotes overall well-being.
• Reduction in Daily Stressors: The maintenance-free lifestyle at Traditions allows seniors to focus on enjoying life without the burden of household chores, which can be especially challenging during the winter months.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can affect seniors more profoundly than other age groups due to the natural changes that come with aging. Recognizing the signs of SAD and providing appropriate support is essential for maintaining senior citizens' mental and emotional health during the colder months. If you or your loved one is experiencing SAD or struggling with the winter blues, consider exploring the benefits of a senior living community. Traditions at Camargo offers a holistic approach to well-being, providing the necessary social, emotional, and physical support to combat the winter blues and lead a fulfilling, happy life year-round.
Stephanie Stoll is the Community Relations Director at Traditions at Camargo. She has worked closely with senior citizens and their adult children, helping them make important decisions about their loved ones’ well-being and happiness.
*Seek Professional Help: If the symptoms persist or worsen, consult a healthcare professional or therapist who specializes in geriatric mental health.
*Information provided in this article was gathered from: The National Institute of Health, Mayo Clinic, and Cleveland Clinic.