Keep Seniors’ Winter Blues Away

by Lois Etienne on January 26, 2011

in Senior Health and Safety

Spokane_washington_senior_manDepression is not a normal part of aging, but when older adults do have depression, it may be overlooked, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Seniors may show different, less obvious symptoms and may be less inclined to experience or acknowledge feelings of sadness or grief. The winter months can be especially challenging because some seniors experienceseasonal affective disorder (SAD), a depressive illness triggered when there is less natural sunlight.

The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation says that an elderly person who may be depressed should see a medical professional. Talk to a client’s family or doctor if you suspect a senior is depressed.

For others, keep the winter blues at bay by using these ideas – from Mental Health America, a non-profit dedicated to helping people live mentally healthier lives:

  • Eat something new – Tackle a new recipe or re-invent a traditional one. Invite family and friends once a week for dinner and take turns preparing meals. Host a potluck dinner or an evening with international cuisine.
  • Exercise the mind – Try a jigsaw puzzle or solve riddles. Read aloud to kids or help them with homework at a local library, school or daycare center.
  • Indulge – Enjoy a healthy dessert or sip a hot drink.
  • Go for a walk – Invite family members and friends for an evening stroll. During bad weather, complete laps inside a local mall or community center.

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