Seasonal depression is a real issue. It usually appears in the late fall as it becomes harder to get outside due to the weather and as the days grow shorter. Around 5% of adults suffer from seasonal depression, and 10% to 20% experience the milder form that’s known as “winter blues.” Women are more likely to experience this mental health condition. It’s also more prevalent in people who live in northern states. Make sure you’re watching your mom for the signs. Hiring home care assistance aides may help her through this condition.
What Are the Key Signs of Seasonal Depression?
How do you know if your mom is experiencing seasonal depression? Watch for these signs.
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
- Excessive stress
- Increased or new experiences with anxiety
- Lack of energy and sleepiness
- Sadness that doesn’t ease
- Weight gain/cravings for carb-heavy foods and snacks
- Withdrawal from social activities or interests
- Unexplained irritation and agitation
If seasonal depression is severe, it can even lead to suicidal thoughts. This is why it’s important to monitor your mom’s mood and make sure steps are taken to treat seasonal depression if it’s present.
Talk to her doctor. There are medications that can help her, but therapeutic measures may be a better option. Light therapy is often very effective as your mom is exposed to artificial sunlight that helps ease her depressed state.
Getting outside is also important. It may be cold and snowy or rainy, but the fresh air and natural lighting help. Sometimes, melatonin or vitamin D supplements can help, and her doctor can discuss the pros and cons of each option.
Help Your Mom Stay Active Throughout the Year
How do you help your mom stay active? Make sure she has the appropriate attire for fall and winter weather. A coat that keeps her warm and dry is essential. Gloves, a hat, a scarf, and sneakers or boots that grip packed snow and ice are important. If ice cleats, such as YakTrax can help prevent her from slipping and falling, invest in them.
Aim for a healthy diet and keep her from carb-rich baked goods that offer no health benefits. If she’s craving a brownie, make chocolate energy balls with oats, unsweetened peanut butter, pureed dates, flax seeds, and cocoa powder.
Make sure your mom has fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy in the home. Serve meals that are hearty and filling. A vegetarian stew is going to warm her up and offer the vitamins and minerals she needs. Soups and stews are great for a slow cooker and ideal for cooler weather.
Your mom needs to stay active, especially outside, and home care assistance helps her do this. Plus, it gives her caregivers to socialize. Call our home care advisor to schedule the home care assistance services that help her get outside and remain active as the seasons change.