Senior Life Solutions offers advice about Seasonal Affective Disorder


CRESCO - As a bitterly cold and icy winter season continues, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may affect those vulnerable to seasonal depression.
Senior Life Solutions in Cresco, an intensive outpatient program for seniors age 65 and older, addresses mental health concerns such as Seasonal Affective Disorder in its treatment program.
Karla O'Connell, RN Program Director at Senior Life Solutions, said, “Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that people sometimes experience. Individuals typically notice symptoms in the fall and it usually continues through the winter months until spring or summer.”
She continued, “Signs that one should look for are feeling depressed daily, feeling hopeless or worthless, having low energy, not being able to do the things they usually do, such as household chores or participating in hobbies), having problems sleeping-most commonly sleeping too much, anxiety, and changes in weight or appetite.”
O’Connell said it is normal for people to experience some days where they feel sad, but if that feeling persists for days at time, interfering with activities they normally do, that they should call a doctor or Senior Life Solutions.
 O’Connell said, “According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, about 5 percent of the U.S. population experiences SAD, with symptoms present 40 percent of the year. SAD is a form of depression. According to the National Institute of Health, more than two million of the 34 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from some form of depression.”
She said there are a number of factors that may bring on seasonal depression:
“Part of it is winter weather and the fact that at times the elderly end up not wanting to leave their homes. Also the shorter days can play a part in it as well. Winter months are often difficult for the elderly, as the holiday season can be a difficult time for them. Holidays can bring back memories of earlier, happier times. Seniors can manage SAD by taking care of themselves by getting enough rest and taking time to relax. They should also manage their stress levels. Socialization is very important as well. When people are feeling down, they tend to want to isolate, but this only increases their symptoms.”
O’Connell said Senior Life Solutions is an intensive program that specializes in the emotional health of seniors 65 and older.
“It includes psychotherapy or talk therapy that helps people identify and change the negative thoughts and behaviors that are making them feel worse. We can help them learn to deal with ways to cope with SAD and how to manage stress. People are offered both group sessions and individual sessions. Through group sessions, group members help each other by sharing information, as well as their strengths, that can boost their self-esteem and confidence. Also by interacting with other group members and the therapist, they are able to gain a greater understanding of themselves.”
If someone is concerned their elderly loved one is showing symptoms of SAD, O’Connell said, “The best thing is to make sure you get them the help they need. There are several types of treatment available. These include photo therapy or light therapy, medications, and psychotherapy as discussed above. Family members should make an appointment with their medical provider or call us at 563-547-6650 to discuss their concerns.”
O’Connell describes what potential patients can expect at Senior Life Solutions:
“Treatment usually starts with treatment three days a week for about four hours a day and decreases in time as the individual progresses. Transportation may be available to those who qualify. Traditional Medicare does cover the program if you qualify. We collaborate with your medical provider while you are participating in the program. Anyone can make a referral to the program. To find out if you are eligible for the program or to learn more information, call Senior Life Solutions at 547-6650 to set up a confidential assessment.”

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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