Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during the fall and winter months, which are characterized by fewer hours of sunlight and colder temperatures. At Home Care Assistance of Toronto, we believe it is important for seniors and their loved ones to learn about SAD as the elderly is more at risk for the condition. From weather that restricts mobility to spending an increased amount of time indoors and isolated, the winter season can easily disrupt a senior’s daily routine, leaving them with little motivation to get up and about each day.
What Causes SAD?
While the exact cause is not completely known, many professionals believe that SAD is a result of the shortened winter days, with less hours of sunlight and dreary weather, which affects melatonin and serotonin levels and therefore mood. This type of late-night depression or anxiety is also common with those who have Alzheimer’s disease and is usually referred to as “sundowning.”
Common Symptoms of SAD
If you are concerned about the health of an aging loved one and think they may be suffering from SAD, here are a few common symptoms to look out for:
- Loss of energy
- Social withdrawal
- Excessive sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Sadness and anxiety
- Loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed
How Is SAD Different from Regular Depression?
The biggest difference between Clinical Depression and SAD is the duration of the disease. SAD only occurs certain months of the year and is directly related to climate and season, whereas Clinical Depression has no set duration and is not solely determined by the weather or time of year, though depression may worsen in those with a chronic diagnosis.
How Can You Help an Aging Loved One?
During this season, assistance from an hourly or live-in Toronto caregiver can provide the companionship your loved one needs to combat anxiety and depression. Along with watching over the safety of your loved one, a Toronto caregiver can drive and accompany them to classes and activities outside the home, and can help with household tasks such as light housekeeping, laundry, and preparing healthy meals. Interested in learning more about in-home care for seniors? Call 416-488-8777 to speak with a Care Manager who can set up a free in-home consultation and answer any additional questions you may have.