Shorter daylight hours, cold temperatures, reduced activity and holiday stress can have a serious effect on elderly adults, leading to a condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Treatment for SAD in seniors includes a focus on healthy lifestyle habits, light therapy, antidepressants and talk therapy. However, elderly adults that have physical limitations and depend on family members for support may find it difficult to implement the treatment options into their lives.
Many families hire home care services providers to be with their aging relative for physical and mental support. Not only does the home care services provider help around the house, they can work with the aging adult on what they need to do to recover from SAD.
Here are 7 ways that home care services providers can help seniors beat SAD and find joy in their daily lives once again.
Stick to a routine: Depression affects a person’s desire to get out of bed and participate fully in daily activities. Home care services providers can motivate seniors to keep up their everyday activities.
Focus on nutrition: Getting the right vitamins and minerals in a healthy diet is key to helping the body resist depression. Many elderly adults struggle to prepare nutritious meals, while a home care services provider can do so easily.
Regular activity and exercise: Even seniors with serious mobility issues can be more active. From walking, yoga, stretching, tai chi, chair aerobics and more, aging adults can find a great workout coach in their home care services provider.
Soak up natural light: SAD is triggered by reduced exposure to sunlight, so seniors need to take every opportunity possible to get more. From sitting in front of a bright window to enjoying a car ride with a home care services provider, elderly adults need more natural light in the darker days of winter.
Use light therapy: To boost the body’s ability to resist SAD, many doctors prescribe light therapy. Seniors sit in front of special light bulbs that deliver light rays that mimic sunlight. Home care services providers can help with setup, timing and regularity.
Brisk walks: Even going outside for five minutes can do wonders for elderly adults. The cold air and natural light invigorates the body and helps relieve stress. Home care services providers can ensure the aging adult is dressed appropriately and can accompany them on a walk or just to sit on the porch.
Stay social: SAD is like other types of depression in that it robs a person’s desire to get social. Home care services providers not only act as companions to elderly adults, but they can facilitate outings, arrange appointments, attend events and escort seniors wherever they need to go.