There can be a beauty to the perfect winter day, witnessing the snow perfectly stacked on tree branches and having a reason to break out the cocoa mugs. But the shorter days and limits on outdoor activities may also leave older adults in particular more vulnerable to the winter blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, known as SAD, is a form of depression that cycles with seasonal changes. Typical symptoms include insomnia, increased anxiety, loss of energy, and changes in appetite.
While any form of depression must be monitored closely, the winter blues can often be alleviated with smaller changes until we can welcome the extended sunlight that comes with spring.
Some simple strategies, suggested by the Mayo Clinic include:
- Adjust your sleep schedule to be awake during the lightest hours of the day.
- Consider moving your bed closer to a window.
- Lighten up draperies or other window coverings.
- Bring real plants and fresh flowers into your living spaces, if possible.
A senior living community, especially one like Cogir Senior Living, has built-in benefits that help to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. The first is the peace of knowing that you or your loved one is under the careful eye of a qualified staff. Our staff knows the signs to look for so that the right measures can be taken, when necessary. The second important benefit that our community provides is just that. Community. Human interaction, friendship, and connection and an abundance of activities to choose from are not just useful tools, they are essential tools.
Whether you are part of a community or the caretaker of an elderly loved one, here are three activities you can do together to build connection and sidestep those winter blues:
- Take a stroll: Moving our bodies is a great way to increase “feel good” chemicals. If you’re able, grab a friend and take that walk outside and add some Vitamin D to maximize the natural mood boost that comes from exercise.
- Take another stroll, but this time down memory lane: Pull down those picture albums, grab a fuzzy blanket, and hunker down for storytime. Laughter is another natural mood enhancer, so don’t forget to find the funny in your retelling of that one camping trip plagued by food poisoning?
- Cook dinner… together: Healthy food plus human interaction and connection are the perfect ingredients for a pick-me-up that lasts well past mealtime.
These seemingly small measures can make a big difference when done in combination. Being mindful of Seasonal Affective Disorder and taking steps to lessen its impact makes even a cloudy day a little brighter, and that mug of cocoa that much sweeter.
Call today to schedule a tour of our beautiful community and see all the benefits of a Cogir Senior Living experience for yourself.
Mayo Clinic, Seasonal Affective Disorder: Symptoms and Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651