Winter Blues in Seniors—Identifying Stress, Symptoms, and Intervention

The holiday season can be a time of high stress and anxiety for everyone, but for some people, it can feel like it is too much to handle. Depression during the winter, whether it is seasonal or major, can feel debilitating. When it comes to the older members of your family, paying closer attention to their health and wellness is important. Studies show that older individuals are more susceptible to illness and mental disorders, and, if left untreated, these health problems can be life threatening. Discussing mental health can be difficult, but many mental disorders, including depression, can be managed with proper treatment.

Causes:

-Lack of sunshine-lack of fresh air

-Less mobile

-Less active

-Sedentary lifestyle

-Medical problems

-Chronic pain

-Losses in life

What are the warning signs of depression in seniors?

  • Sudden social withdrawal
  • Loss of interest or apathy toward activities
  • Problems with concentration, memory, logical thought
  • Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells, or touch
  • Avoidance of over-stimulating situations
  • Anxiety or fear of others
  • Dramatic sleep and appetite changes
  • Sudden shifts in mood
  • Loss of energy (fatigue or lethargic)
  • Body aches/feeling tense
  • Lack enthusiasm

Early intervention can make a significant difference in prevention and management of depression.

  • Daily Doses of Sunshine
  • Get Moving-Exercise
  • Stay Connected
  • Healthy Diet
  • Help Others
  • Listen to uplifting music
  • Think positive
  • Don’t overdo it
  • Take care of your physical health (cold and flu season)

If you suspect a family member may be struggling with depression, or if he or she is showing early warning signs, it is important to seek medical attention. Above all, family involvement, support, and education are vital for the care of an older individual.

Senior Outpatient Behavioral Health—Transitions

Salt Lake Regional Transitions is designed for seniors age 55 and up who would benefit from an intensive outpatient program that includes medication management, specialized psychotherapy groups, individual psychotherapy, and family therapy services. The outpatient program and staff specialize in treating a wide range of metal health disorders with a multi-disciplinary and individualized approach.

For more information, please call 801-350-4777.