During the holiday season, many people experience sadness, especially older adults. Memories of family and friends who have passed on or the longing for family holidays of the past can cause them to feel isolated even when they are with family.
Often when elderly loved ones live alone, the warning signs of sadness and seasonal depression go unnoticed. During the holiday season, pay close attention to your older loved ones and watch for the warning signs of holiday blues: persistent sadness, feelings of worthlessness or helplessness, weight changes, withdrawal from social activities, slowed thinking or response, inability to concentrate, and excessive worrying.
If you sense that your elderly loved ones are unhappy, follow the tips below to help brighten the holiday season for them:
1. Decorate their home or room throughout the holiday season. Bring holiday decorations that have sentimental value and take time to appreciate happy memories while making new memories.
2. Include the entire family in holiday celebrations. If your elderly loved ones are no longer able to drive, they can feel isolated because they can no long travel to family celebrations. If possible, arrange transportation or schedule another family activity with your elderly loved ones.
3. If your elderly loved ones are living in an assisted living facility or nursing home, encourage them to celebrate the holiday season with other residents or research activates they can participate in.
4. Remind your loved ones about the true meaning of the holiday season and help them concentrate on the people in their life today, rather than dwelling on those who are no longer around.
5. If you do not live near your elderly loved ones try to find an organization or religious ministry that has service members who regularly visit the elderly. Organizations like these can provide highly trained, caring people who will help lift your elders’ spirits.
These are only a few ways to help your elderly loved ones overcome the holiday blues ans seasonal depression. Always remember to stay positive and encourage your loved ones to embrace the spirit of the holidays in as many ways as they are able to.