Caring for Your Senior Parent: 7 Benefits of Light Therapy for Senior Women

Light therapy is an effective and non-invasive treatment for many common health issues senior women face. It can improve the overall physical and mental well-being of a senior woman and reduce stress, depression, and other mood disorders. If you are the adult child of a senior woman, you may want to discuss the potential benefits of light therapy for your mother. There are seven primary benefits of light therapy for a senior woman that we discuss in this article:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved mood
  • Improved mental well-being
  • Reduced stress
  • Better sleep quality
  • Improved vision
  • Reduced fall risk

What Is Light Therapy?

Light therapy exposes a person to specific forms of light, typically from a special box or lamp. This type of light is often referred to as full-spectrum or bright white light. It mimics natural outdoor light and its effects on the brain’s circadian rhythm. This helps regulate normal sleep patterns, which can help manage fatigue and promote normal energy levels throughout the day.

There are many benefits associated with light therapy, specifically for senior women:

Increased Energy Level

One of the primary benefits of light therapy is an increase in energy levels, which may be especially beneficial for elderly individuals who may feel fatigued more easily than younger people due to age-related changes. Light therapy helps promote better sleep habits which in turn helps increase energy throughout the day.

Improved Mood

Light therapy works by stimulating parts of the brain responsible for regulating moods and emotions, such as serotonin levels, which can reduce feelings of depression or anxiety in seniors who suffer from them due to aging-related changes or other underlying conditions.

Improved Mental Well-Being

Light therapy benefits cognitive functioning among older adults, improving memory recall and decision-making abilities and helping with focus and concentration-related tasks. This can help make everyday activities easier for seniors who may struggle with these tasks due to age or other conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Reduced Stress Levels

Light therapy has also been found to help reduce stress levels among seniors, which is particularly important since they are more likely to suffer from chronic stress than younger individuals due to age-related factors, such as arthritis or other medical conditions that cause pain and discomfort daily. Regular exposure to bright white light helps to boost their moods while also providing relaxation that can help reduce stress levels over time and help them cope with any existing mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression-related concerns.

Better Sleep Quality

Many older adults struggle with getting enough quality sleep due to underlying medical conditions, medications they take during the day, lack of exercise, and other reasons. All these combined can lead to poor quality restorative sleep at night, leading to even further fatigue during the daytime. As a result, utilizing a lightbox device before bedtime might be a strategy for your senior mother.

Improved Vision

Exposure to bright white lights and certain eye exercises can help improve vision problems sometimes associated with aging. With that said, a senior loved one will want to consult an eye doctor regarding any eye problems being experienced. In addition, consulting with an eye doctor is generally suggested before starting a course of light therapy.

Reduced Risk of Falls

Falls have become more common among elderly individuals. One of the reasons this occurs is because of poor eyesight. As mentioned, light therapy may assist with certain vision issues. In addition, light therapy is also thought to lessen fatigue, which also reduces the risk of a senior experiencing a fall.  

Possible Negative Aspects of Light Therapy for Senior Women

As with so many things in life, light therapy is not a perfect solution. There can be some negative issues associated with light therapy for some senior women. In fairness, we note some of the more notable negative aspects some people may experience regarding light therapy.

One possible negative aspect of light therapy is its intensity. For it to be effective in treating certain mental health issues, such as depression, it must be administered at very high light intensities. In addition, exposure times can range from 30 minutes to two hours per day. This can cause temporary headaches and disorientation due to the sudden increase in brightness.

Another issue with light therapy is that it can be costly. As this type of treatment requires specialized equipment such as a special lamp or visor, purchasing, renting, or leasing these items can add up quickly. Insurance programs may not cover these costs. This can make it difficult for some seniors to budget these costs comfortably.  

Another potential downside of light therapy is that the effects are only sometimes long-lasting. Regular treatments may need to be maintained for the full benefits to be realized by a woman in her Golden Years (or anyone else, for that matter). This means that frequent trips to the doctor’s office or clinic will likely be necessary to ensure that the desired results are achieved and sustained over time. The overall process proves to be quite time-consuming.

In conclusion, while light therapy can provide many positive benefits for elderly women on several different fronts, some negative aspects are associated with this treatment. Therefore, in the final analysis, it is important for any woman considering light therapy to consult with her doctor beforehand. By undertaking this consultation, a senior woman like your own mother will be in a better position to make a truly educated and informed decision about whether or not light therapy is the right choice for her.