The changing of the seasons is something many people look forward to. As we approach Fall, there's a crispness in the air and the leaves are becoming vibrant shades of red and yellow. The anticipation of the Holiday season with meaningful traditions and time spent with family and friends brings joy. Usually.
For some, the arrival of Fall begins a time of loneliness and despair. The absence of loved ones who have passed or live far away is felt significantly and bring recurring feelings of sadness. These feelings could be more than just normal holiday blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is also known as Seasonal Depression and is characterized by "a period of depression that recurs each year, most commonly beginning during the fall or winter months and resolving by springtime." These feelings should not be ignored. While it's normal to experience days where you feel down, prolonged emotions that leave you feeling depressed, hopeless, exhausted, irritable, restless, agitated, unable to focus, or a decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities should be addressed promptly and you should make an appointment with your primary care physician.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that: "Some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up..."
If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, don't assume that they will clear up on their own or that you'll be alright just to wait it out.
Fortunately there are some remedies that can counteract Seasonal Affective Disorder and there's a great list on ways both seniors and caregivers can beat the winter blues at seniorliving.net Keeping the mind active and staying social (even if it's through social media venues such as Skype or Facebook) can help fend off the feelings of isolation.
Individuals that have been independent up to this point may want to utilize homecare services. A caregiver can come into the home to provide companionship and assistance if and when extended family members are unavailable.
Taking steps now to diminish the side effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder can enhance yours or your loved one's holiday experience.