As winter approaches, many people feel sadness and loss of energy due to the cold weather and lack of vitamin D. The lack of sunshine can cause one’s mood to grow dark too like irritability, difficulty concentrating, change in appetite, and tendency to oversleep. People in areas with fewer hours of daylight suffer seasonal affective disorder. For those suffering from depression due to weather changes and living in facilities for Alzheimer’s Ashland NE, treatment is critical.
Whilst it is normal to experience mood changes during the long winter months, many overlook that senior adults are more prone to this seasonal disorder. Caregivers in memory care facilities must report any signs of depression to the facility physician or primary care provider so screening for SAD can be facilitated.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a type of recurrent depression that occurs during the same season every year. People diagnosed with SAD show signs or symptoms within the fall and winter months with episodes declining during spring and warmer months.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is affecting 10 million Americans. The disorder influences your day-to-day living, how you think, and how you feel.
The exact cause of SAD is not yet determined but has been linked to the neurotransmitter serotonin, responsible for manufacturing melatonin, a hormone in the body that makes humans sleepy.
According to research, melatonin concentration drops to the lowest during the winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may be genetic as some studies observe the trait to run in families.
SAD symptoms vary from mild to severe which include:
- Difficulty in concentrating or thinking
- A sudden change of appetite (carbohydrates cravings or overeating)
- Change in sleep pattern (oversleeping)
- Feeling sad, depressed mood
- Lack of motivation
- Suicidal thoughts
- Increased anxiety
- Weight gain
How is SAD Treated?
For seniors in facilities for Alzheimer’s Ashland NE, seasonal affective disorder can be manageable. So, it is important to report sudden changes that coincide with SAD symptoms.
Treatment may vary from patient to patient, but incorporating medication, traditional therapy, and light therapy can help. In light therapy, people with SAD are exposed to artificial rays for at least two to three hours first thing in the morning.
Other treatments for SAD are the following:
- Staying active like daily walk (weather permitting), indoor activities
- Getting enough sleep during the long dark days of winter
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet, vegetables and bright-colored fruits
- Remain socially engaged
- Listening to music
How can you help a loved one with SAD in Facilities for Alzheimer’s in Ashland NE?
If you notice that your loved one in facilities for Alzheimer’s in Ashland NE is showing signs of seasonal affective disorder or is prone to SAD, it will help to:
- Schedule a regular visit. Seeing familiar faces can bring joy and comfort knowing people love and value them.
- Bring or send useful gifts that will stimulate better sleeping habits like aromatherapy items, oil, diffuser, or lotion.
- Make plans or activities specifically for the season to keep them active and engaged.
- Purchase indoor lighting for your loved one for better exposure
Learn about our Alzheimer’s care programs at Richmont Senior Living by clicking here.
Richmont Senior Living is proud to serve Ashland, NE and the surrounding cities: Memphis, Springfield, South Bend, Greenwood, Murdock, Waverly, Murdock, Ithaca, and Chalco