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How to Recognize and Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder

An older man struggling with seasonal affective disorder gazes out the window and offers a halfhearted wave .
An older man struggling with seasonal affective disorder gazes out the window and offers a halfhearted wave .
Help someone struggling with seasonal affective disorder with these tips.

The holiday season is often associated with joy, festivities, and quality time spent with loved ones. However, for some individuals, especially seniors, the fall and winter months can trigger a form of clinical depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This condition is more than just the winter blues; it can cast a shadow over the holidays, leading to feelings of sadness and nostalgia, particularly for seniors who reminisce about past celebrations with loved ones who are no longer present.

What Are the Signs of SAD?

As you gather with family during this festive season, it’s essential to be vigilant for signs of depression in your older loved ones. Recognizing these signs early on can make a significant difference in their well-being. Some common indicators of depression, including SAD, include oversleeping, extreme fatigue or sluggishness, a lack of interest in activities that once brought joy, increased appetite or overeating, and, in severe cases, even suicidal thoughts.

However, the signs of depression may not always be straightforward. There are other red flags that could indicate your older loved one may need additional support during the holidays. Pay attention to changes in weight—significant weight loss could be a cause for concern. Similarly, alterations in appearance may signal underlying issues. If the senior’s general appearance has unexpectedly changed, it might be an indication of their mental and emotional state.

Household upkeep is another area to observe. Any significant changes in how the senior manages their home could be a sign that something is amiss. A decline in general behavior is also worth noting. Look for signs of agitation, forgetfulness, or increased dependency on others for mobility. These behavioral changes may be indicative of the need for additional care and support at home.

What Should I Do if I Suspect It’s Seasonal Affective Disorder?

If you observe any of these warning signs, it’s crucial to take proactive steps. One of the first things you should do is contact the person’s physician. Seeking professional medical advice is essential in understanding the root cause of the observed changes and determining an appropriate course of action. Early intervention can significantly improve the outcome for someone struggling with depression or related issues.

As you enjoy the holiday season, remember to be attuned to the well-being of your older family members. Recognizing the signs of depression, including the subtle indicators, can make a meaningful difference in their lives. Seeking professional help and considering in-home care are proactive steps to ensure the happiness and health of loved ones during the holidays and beyond.

How Home Care Can Help

CareFor, serving Austin, Georgetown, San Marcos, and the surrounding regions, offers compassionate caregivers ready to support your family. Whether it’s providing companionship, assisting with daily tasks, or offering emotional support, our caregivers are committed to enhancing the quality of life for your loved ones. Call us at (512) 338-4533 to learn more about how we can help brighten each day for someone you love.

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