Winter time brings with it a plethora of headaches – and one of the most common issues that comes along with winter time is depression for both seniors and their caregivers.  A large percentage of the population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Usually caused by the lack of natural sunlight and shortened days of the winter, Seasonal Affective Disorder affects a good amount of our seniors.

How to Treat Winter Depression

Whether you are suffering from SAD yourself, or you are the caregiver or family member of someone who is, these ideas can help you to beat seasonal depression and look forward to the coming spring.

  • Exercise – regular exercise, even if it is limited to indoors, can have a great positive effect on Seasonal Affective Disorder. Caregivers could try joining in on a senior’s exercise class to get them motivated.
  • Go Outside – getting outdoors and soaking in what little sunlight is available is the best form of treatment for SAD. Being outdoors brings a change of scenery which can stave off the feeling of being “cooped up” in the home. If you do go outside, wear warm layered clothing as seniors are especially susceptible to frostbite.
  • Be Social – engaging in social activities can help a senior to look past their depression and look forward to their day-to-day activities. A great suggestion would be the encourage volunteer activity such as through a children’s program or local church.
  • Seek Professional Help – if the depression worsens and just won’t go away, it may be worthwhile to speak with a mental health professional, especially if the sufferer is experiencing changes in their eating and sleeping habits, irritability, or restlessness.
  • Don’t Take on Too Much – it is important to stay active, but it is also important to not take on too much responsibility, especially during the busy holiday season. Prioritize what is most important so that you do not burn yourself out.

To keep those that suffer from SAD happy throughout another long, cold winter, try encouraging exercise and social activities. Keeping the mind and body active may be  key to avoiding depression this winter.