Seasonal depression in seniors can be difficult to manage. Here a senior woman feels blue.

Seasonal Depression and Seniors

Bethesda Health | December 18, 2018

The holiday season and winter months can be some of the toughest times of the year for seasonal depression and feelings of loneliness. And that’s especially true for seniors.

Just as important as it is to keep an eye on the physical health of older adults, it’s vital to make sure they stay mentally healthy.

“As we grow older, we come across a lot of life changes and those can impact our mood and outlook,” Bethesda Bereavement Assistant Kelly Haner explained. “Living alone due to the loss of a spouse, having family members living far distances from us, difficulty with mobility, the loss of the ability to drive, and illness are just some of the reasons that we may begin to experience social isolation, feelings of loneliness, and seasonal depression.”

In the cold, dreary months of winter, it is easy to find ourselves in a slump.

“We feel a lot less like ourselves and more like Eeyore, the gloomy, grey donkey in Winnie-the-Pooh,” Haner said. “Let’s start out by saying this is normal. Most people experience some kind of emotional downturn after the holidays.”

Understanding the Signs of Seasonal Depression

The key to mental health, says Haner, is not allowing seniors to get into a rut. Watch out for the warning signs of depression – and then act before the depression takes hold.

Signs of Depression

If you notice your loved one battling one or more of these symptoms, then it’s time to talk to their doctor.

Don’t Give Up Hope

There are plenty of ways to help combat the winter blues and feelings of loneliness that seniors may experience. Being involved in the community, discussing feelings with family and friends, and taking time for hobbies are just a few tactics.

Keeping busy and finding ways to socialize are important tools to use in the battle against loneliness and seasonal depression.

Suggestions for Avoiding Depression:

Having things to do and to look forward to is key to staying mentally healthy and happy, according to Haner. Like everyone else, it’s important for seniors to have a sense of purpose in their life as well as things that they are passionate and enthusiastic about doing.

Find the Help That You Need

Seniors shouldn’t feel as if they have to battle loneliness and depression on their own. If the above suggestions don’t do the job, the Bethesda Hospice Care Bereavement Team is always there to help. Bethesda currently offers ongoing grief support groups that are open to anyone in need of support. For more information, contact Bethesda Hospice Care or call 314-373-7025.

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