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Home care provider offers elderly tips to prevent a SAD Christmas

Published: 27th November 2019 08:50


A LEADING south Devon home care provider is offering advice to the elderly this month (December 2019) to help prevent them from suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Guardian Homecare, which provides care for elderly and vulnerable people living in the Exeter and Torbay areas, says SAD is more prevalent in the run-up to the year’s shortest day (December 22).

Catherine Porter, who manages Guardian Homecare’s domiciliary care teams in Devon, says: “The majority of our service users are elderly and at this time of year our carers are trained to keep a much closer eye on them for symptoms of SAD, which is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. 

“At this time of year, it’s much easier to develop due to the colder weather and darker evenings, and many people may be spending Christmas alone too. Symptoms of SAD include a persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal, everyday activities, irritability, sleeping for longer than normal, finding it hard to get up in the morning, craving carbs and gaining weight. 

“According to the NHS, the exact cause of SAD isn’t understood, but it is often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn/winter days.  

“The lack of sunlight may stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus from working properly, which can affect the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. The body may produce higher levels due to SAD, the production of serotonin, the hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep, and your body’s internal clock, as your body uses sunlight to time important functions, such as when you wake up.

“Our top tips for the elderly to help reduce the chances of SAD this year include:

Getting as much natural daylight as you possibly can, especially at midday and on brighter days. When you’re at home, it’s also a good idea to sit near windows that lets light in.

If getting natural light is proving difficult, try light therapy by using a light box. They give out very bright light that is 10 times stronger than ordinary home and office lighting, however, they can prove to be expensive, so you could try using a dawn simulator bedside light. These lights can be connected to an alarm clock and will get brighter gradually, mimicking a sunrise and waking you up naturally.

Keeping the mind active is a good way to prevent symptoms of SAD creeping in. You could take up a new hobby, join a new group, do crafting, writing, photography or anything else that interests you and keeps your mind ticking over and concentrated on something else.

Eating well can help boost your mood and give you more energy. Balance carbs such as potato and pasta with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Being cold can make you feel down, so make sure you stay warm with hot drinks and hot food, warm clothing, shoes, slippers, blankets and jumpers. Aim to keep your home heated between 18°C and 21°C.”  

Guardian Homecare employs nearly 200 domiciliary carers in south Devon to look after its service users in their own homes and is currently searching for 100 new honest and kind-hearted individuals to help add to its teams.

Catherine says: “We provide an invaluable service to the people of south Devon and new staff are needed on a daily basis to help us continue with our work. We offer free, full training and the opportunity for career advancement, so if anyone is interested in joining our team, they should give us a call on 01803 853198 for more information.”

 Guardian Homecare offers training and the opportunity for internal advancement. Anyone who joins the team can create a career path using the different qualifications they achieve.

“No experience is necessary to become a carer, as free, full training is provided. We offer new recruits a five-day training induction and a 12-week on-boarding programme working towards a care certificate. We also offer flexible working hours, both full and part-time, as well as competitive wages and generous holiday allocation.


“It is a great opportunity for people to achieve a recognised qualification and they’ll also be able to have access to exclusive discounts online and in-store from retailers including Tesco, Primark and Argos and also covers holidays and electrical goods.”

New recruits are given free uniforms, access to national staff discount scheme for many major brands, as well as 28 days paid holiday, paid travel between calls and paid mileage.

For further details, please call Guardian Homecare on 01803 853198 or drop in at its Drew Street branch in Brixham, during normal office hours for an informal chat. Alternatively, please visit www.guardianhomecare.org.uk.



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