How Seasonal Depression Can Affect Seniors
While fall prevention and hypothermia are important topics to address this winter, so is seasonal depression and how it affects the elderly.
Falls due to slippery conditions, or hypothermia due to lack of appropriate outdoor clothing and prolonged time outside, are external conditions that are easily detectable in seniors. However, seasonal depression is internal, and not as easy to spot.
Think of it this way: it’s hard enough for a person who is of a younger age to go outside during the winter. We fall even if our balance is pretty good, and we complain about the cold even though we know to wear the proper attire when outdoors. So, imagine how hard it is for a senior to walk on an icy sidewalk, or remember to layer up in weather appropriate winter accessories to stay as warm as possible.
Seasonal depression can become prominent in seniors, especially if they are in a care facility. It can be extremely difficult for staff to get the residents outside due to the conditions. Even if they have ample opportunity to do activities inside, the lack of ability to go outside can severely affect their mental state. Imagine how you would feel if you weren’t able to go out and get fresh air for a few days, or even a week.
A few ways to combat seasonal depression in seniors is light therapy using a “light box” which is a fluorescent lamp that imitates natural sunlight. Vitamin-C pills and a nutrient-dense diet can also help, as the lack of sunlight exposure can affect bone density and general health and wellness