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5 Ways That Seniors Can Fight Seasonal Depression
Saturday, August 31, 2019

Cleveland Is Beautiful No Matter the Season.

But Seasonal Depression in Seniors Is a Real Issue.

You know all of the jokes - summer in Cleveland is about 3 weeks long, you have to wear shorts and a parka because you never know which season it’s going to be in Cleveland, etc. We’ve heard them all before! But whether you are enjoying the CMHA Senior Jamboree in the summer, an autumn trip through Amish country to see the leaves change, a springtime trip to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, or a wintertime visit to see the holiday lights in Public Square, Northeast Ohio has great sights and sounds for seniors to enjoy year-round.

Why is it so hard to stay happy and energetic in the wintertime?

Seasonal depression can be tracked down to one main culprit: Vitamin D deficiency. Humans get Vitamin D from sunlight, and as we all know in Cleveland, it can be tough to find sun in the wintertime. It gets dark early, and most of the day is gloomy. Serotonin levels drop significantly in wintertime, and that causes a chemical imbalance that leads to depression symptoms. It’s no surprise that the actual term for seasonal depression is Seasonal Affective Disorder or, SAD.

So, how can you fight it? Here are some tips for seniors who need to feel better in the cold Cleveland winter:

  • Take your vitamins - Check with your doctor before taking any supplements, but many seniors have success in fighting SAD with a Vitamin D supplement. Give the body what it needs and see if it produces results.
  • Get outside when you can - Mobility issues can be hard to overcome when there is snow or ice. Arrange a time when a friend or family member can help you get out of the house, even if it’s just for a few moments, to get some much-needed sunlight.
  • Use technology - There are some great new products that can replicate sunlight and improve your mental health inside your home. Phototherapy is a new technique that uses technology to mimic nature and give your cells what they crave.
  • Exercise - Exercise is a natural way to increase dopamine levels, so any movement you can create in the winter will help. Taking a few laps around the living room or even some deep breathing exercises can help increase blood flow and oxygen to get that dopamine flowing!
  • Talk to a doctor - If symptoms persist or worsen, consult with a physician. There are prescription drugs available that can be used if natural methods aren’t working. The depression you feel is real, and it can be treated if you talk to someone about it.

McGregor PACE can help! You are not alone in fighting SAD. Contact us today and talk to our warm and caring staff about ways that we can help you take on this condition. We are here to help!