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  • Writer's pictureChristian Companions

Helping SAD Senior Citizens this Winter- Houston

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Winter has officially arrived and while it may bring holidays and great feasts, it also brings new challenges for senior citizens in Houston. Of course there is the colder weather which makes for stiffer bones, but there is also the common occurrence of seasonal depression, also commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Oftentimes, seniors are particularly vulnerable to this type of depression due to their age-related mental and physical changes, as well as the decreased amount of natural sunlight that comes with winter.

If you’re a caregiver for a senior loved one, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of SAD so you can recognize when your loved one is struggling.

Common symptoms include:

  • Feeling down, depressed or hopeless most of the day

  • Low energy or fatigue

  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions

  • Social withdrawal and isolation

  • Appetite changes and weight gain or loss

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt

  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If your senior loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms during the winter months, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.

But there are also several things you can do to help your loved one cope with SAD:

Get Outside

The lack of natural sunlight during winter can contribute to SAD. It’s important to encourage your senior loved one to get outdoors for at least a few minutes each day. Even if it’s cloudy or cold outside, spending time in nature can be extremely beneficial to their mood. Encourage them to take a walk to a nearby park and just sit on the bench and read. Take in the sights and sounds that nature has to offer. Even in winter, birds will be chirping and there will be others enjoying the park and if they’re lucky, maybe a dog or two will come by and say hello.

Increase Socialization

Social isolation is a common symptom of SAD. Make sure your senior loved one has plenty of opportunities for socialization throughout the winter months. This could include joining a local seniors group or having friends over for dinner or even game night.

Encourage your senior loved one to start a new book and find a book club to join. This is a great opportunity to pick up a new hobby, and have fun discussing the book with new friends.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise releases endorphins that can help combat depression and lift moods. Make sure your senior loved one is getting regular physical activity throughout the winter months – even if it’s just a short walk around the neighborhood each day.

Eat Well

Eating nutrient-rich foods can help boost energy levels and fight off feelings of sadness and depression. Make sure your senior loved one is getting plenty of healthy fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates in their diet throughout the winter months.

Seek Professional Help

Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if your senior loved one is showing signs of SAD. A mental health professional can provide them with counseling, medication and other treatments that may help lift their mood during this difficult season.

Taking care of an elderly person who is struggling with seasonal depression can be difficult, but there are ways to help them cope with this difficult time in their life.

Be sure to pay attention to any signs that they may be struggling and don’t hesitate to seek professional help when necessary so they can get the care they need during this difficult season.

Christian Companions Houston

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We're a company that believes in the power of compassion, and our caregivers are nurturers that like to listen and assist. We're here for you in the Houston and surrounding areas and ready to help you or your loved one find the best plan that works for them. Reach out to us today to learn how Christian Companions Houston can help your loved one age in place with grace.


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