Coping with seasonal affective disorder in the nursing home

When I was growing up I became listless and tired every fall. For many years I thought it had something to do with school starting again. But when school was over I knew that was not the case.

My first fall in a nursing facility brought on my usual feelings of tiredness. One day I struck up a conversation with a nurse and she shared that she suffered from the same symptoms. She told me it was seasonal affective disorder or SAD. I was surprised that there was an actual name for something that I have been going through most of my life.

She told me that studies had been done showing that light therapy used on patients suffering from SAD could actually help the situation. Back then she wished she had the funding to set up a light therapy group in the facility—she was certain that SAD affected many residents.

Since then I have read many articles about SAD. I also have developed some ways of coping with seasonal affective disorder:

I make sure I get enough sleep.

I do not take extended naps that might affect my night’s sleep.

I have plenty of light in my room during the day, especially when it is dark and rainy outside.

I go out as much as I can to get some daylight. Even 10 minutes a day is beneficial.

Every fall I remember those conversations with the facility nurse and wonder if light therapy would benefit me. I know that I am definitely considering it as I get older. My concern would be the limited space in my room for the lighting apparatus and how my roommate might react to it.

Topics: Clinical