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Don’t Be SAD This Winter

kermit frog winterAs winter approaches the Berks County area, the daylight hours dwindle and the nights get longer. This can trigger a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of depression. Although researchers don’t know exactly what causes it, symptoms can happen any time of year, but always occur at the same time each year for each affected individual.

This disorder, known as SAD, can occur in summer (known as “summer depression”) but is more common around winter, starting in fall or winter and lasting until spring or early summer. If a person generally feels “down” during a season of the year, he or she may have SAD. It can be a vague, mild feeling of being out of sorts, or it can lead to depression, weight gain, and fatigue. The symptoms can interfere with relationships and work or school. It is more common in areas like Pennsylvania that have fewer daylight hours in winter than other locations that have plenty of sunshine year-round.

Warning symptoms include low energy, trouble concentrating, weight gain, greater need for sleep, fatigue, increased appetite, and the desire to be left alone. A medical examination can evaluate these symptoms and recommend treatment. At Sacred Heart Villa, residents have access to trained nurses 24 hours a day and can get rides to medical appointments.

Something as simple as light therapy can help ease or eliminate SAD symptoms. Light activates the brain in a way that affects mood and our biological clock. Light therapy consists of being exposed to very bright light several minutes per day (under medical supervision, of course, to avoid eye damage).

One simple way to possibly prevent SAD is to get outside early in the day and get as much natural sunlight as possible (even on cloudy days!). Sacred Heart Villa offers lovely grounds and a garden where residents can safely walk and be refreshed.

Exercise and healthy meals can help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sacred Heart Villa serves three nutritious, balanced meals each day that are included in the cost of residency.

Social involvement is essential for a meaningful, thriving life. Social support can ease burdens and be therapeutic. The Villa offers numerous activities, including games, events, mass, and other activities. Residents also enjoy themselves in our library, beauty salon, lounges, social hall, and outdoor gardens. Residents are surrounded by friends and caregivers, and comfortable living quarters are suited to all needs and budgets. We make every effort to keep you from being SAD!

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ created Sacred Heart Villa (formerly St. Michael Convent) in 2003 with the vision of providing a personal care home for the Sisters and other seniors of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters renovated St. Michael in order to create 35 personal care residential rooms. Sacred Heart Villa officially opened her doors to her first new residents in May 2004, with space for 57 Sisters and 40 other senior residents.

The facility has two residential buildings, a remodeled dining room, a new fireside lounge, library, café, and beauty shop. The chapel remains in the middle of the facility for it truly is the Heart of the community. Each new residential room provides an individual with privacy, safety, and security in an environment of beauty and grace. Mass is celebrated each day and is open to the public.

Sacred Heart Villa is now accepting residents. If you are seeking care for yourself or a loved one, contact Sacred Heart Villa today at 610-929-5751 for a tour. You can also visit us at