Although the holidays are supposed to be an enjoyable, festive time, they can create some emotional challenges, especially for seniors.
As we age, seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can take form. This is a mental health condition that can affect the overall wellbeing in seniors, and it’s severity tends to increase in the winter months – often right around the holidays.
To feel a little nostalgically sad during the holiday season is common, particularly for windowed seniors. The danger here is it can put them at a greater risk of developing more serious symptoms of depression. Usually, it goes away after the holidays are over, but if feelings of sadness or loneliness persist, then it could be a sign of something more concerning.
Seasonal depression, as its name implies, can change with the seasons, but it can be more severe during the holidays.
SAD symptoms are not unlike those of diagnosed clinical depression, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that depression is the diagnosis. The symptoms usually consist of anxiety, inconsistent sleep and appetite, disengagement from normal activities, a lack of energy and general irritability.
Seniors can address SAD with therapy, and certain antidepressants if the symptoms persist.
Seniors are sometimes underdiagnosed, if at all, for this condition because of the possibility of other medical conditions. Research shows that a vitamin D deficiency may also contribute various mental health concerns, including depression around the holidays.
The good news is that in addition to therapy, seasonal or holiday depression can be helped with the support and social activities in the community. These are ways that supportive living is one option to help treat SAD effectively.
For more information on how supportive living can help seniors cope with seasonal depression and other mental health concerns, visit our website or call us at 630-406-9440.
Heritage Woods of Batavia
1079 E. Wilson St
Batavia, IL 60510