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Winter SADness: Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Winter SADness: Seasonal Affective Disorder

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

Falls, and hypothermia are likely to top the list of caregiver concerns during the icy winter months. But, elderly loved ones are also at risk for some lesser known, but still impactful, hazards brought on by frigid weather.

Seasonal affective disorder and vitamin D deficiency can be hazardous to a senior’s health. The good new is, they are both easily treatable if identified and dealt with properly.

Winter SADness

Feeling a bit glum may seem like an ordinary reaction to the fading glow of the holidays. But, when that feeling of sadness persists for more than a week or two, it might not be just the lack of festive lights and carols getting your elderly loved one down.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known by the acronym, SAD, is a form of depression that cycles with the seasons. It can occur during any time of the year, but it typically hits most people in the winter.

As the weather gradually gets colder and the days shorter, people affected by the winter-induced form of SAD will generally begin to feel the symptoms of depression, including; a loss of energy, an increased appetite and an enhanced feeling of lethargy and tiredness.

According to the National Institutes of Health, SAD is more likely to strike women and people who live in northern areas where the sun is not as strong or constant.

The main difference between SAD and general depression is that SAD only strikes during certain times of the year. The hormonal changes that lead to depressive symptoms in people with SAD are usually caused by a decline in the amount of daylight during the winter and fall.

These effects can be compounded if a person primarily stays indoors and doesn’t have the opportunity to venture out into the sun often.

Related:
8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood
Step Away From the Donut: The Perils of Emotional Eating
6 Surprising Ways to Instantly Lower Stress

Little-Known Winter Dangers For Elders originally appeared on AgingCare.com

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33 comments

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10:02AM PST on Nov 4, 2013

Thank you

4:31PM PST on Mar 8, 2012

NOT IN QUEENSLAND THOUGH.... TOO MUCH LIGHT!
Used to severely suffer from it while living in the bleak and gloomy lowlands in winter!

4:29PM PST on Mar 8, 2012

NOT IN QUEENSLAND THOUGH.... TOO MUCH LIGHT!
Used to severely suffer from it while living in the bleak and gloomy lowlands in winter!

11:04AM PST on Feb 19, 2012

What light boxes do you guys use or recommend? My doc told me to get one but I can't find any for less than $400... I must be looking in the wrong places

10:56AM PST on Feb 19, 2012

This is how I see it Lol! Totally agree about the importance of vitamin D also. Rosi Caswell Animal/Human Therapist Metaphysical Counsellor

LIFE'S JIGSAW

S.A.D, the name is simply right.
It’s how I feel when there is no light.
No sunshine sparkling in any room.
Just heavy black, oppressive gloom.
It makes me want to hibernate,
Just like the squirrels who sit on the gate,
‘Til winter comes, and they disappear,
Snuggled in their drey so near,
But far enough that I can’t see
That the gloom will lift and we shall see,
Once more, quite soon, the rays of sun
That warm us, humans and beasts- all one.
So ‘til that day we may all feel S.A.D.
Awaiting the brightness, to again feel glad.
And when the sunshine is here again,
It brings with it too, refreshing rain.
For all life’s elements, we need in turn.
We must not turn away and spurn,
The ones we wish simply not to see,
For all are essential on our life’s journey.
Overall balance shows many a face.
All must gel together, for it isn’t a race.
For harmony complete, in our lives and our land.
Listen to nature, she holds out a hand.
She shows us the way, to embrace day by day,
The seasons of life, be they coloured or grey.
If we blend together completely as one,
Universe, animals, humans-we’ve won
©Rosi Caswell 2005

8:57PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Thanks.

7:08PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

thank you.

2:19PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

I get summer depression. It's awful.

12:02PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

thanks for sharing

11:30AM PST on Feb 15, 2012

I have suffered from SAD for some time now, bought one of the light boxes, but did not find it very helpful. Now I try to get out for a walk every day, even if i is a little cold and damp, you can always wrap up against these, I must admit I find this most helpful.!!

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