Help Seniors Avoid the Holiday Blues

December 2023

During this holiday season, it’s a good time to reflect on what you’re thankful for, and chances are, family and friends are at the top of the list. The holidays can be stressful for anyone, but for senior adults, this time of year can magnify feelings of loneliness and depression. Memories of holidays long ago with loved ones who have passed, or feeling left out of the holiday bustle can be triggers for depression.

In 2013, a study revealed that a century ago, 70 percent of widows and widowers lived with their children, but that number has since changed to about 38 percent. This is where you can help. Do you have an elderly neighbor who might enjoy a cup of tea by your Christmas tree? Or, do you have a nursing home by your residence that you can visit?

Here are some ways you can help the seniors in your life enjoy the holidays, not dread them. These are from the American Medical Resource Institute, Inc.

Let them help with holiday planning.

  • Include them in decorating, baking or visiting. If they are mobile enough, invite them to join you in attending special services or programs.

Take them to see Christmas lights.

  • For those with mobility issues, it’s a great way to get out and enjoy the season. In fact, who doesn’t like driving around and seeing the colorful displays?

Respect their feelings.

  • If an older adult reveals they are depressed, don’t reply with a quick or dismissive comment. Let them talk about how they’re feeling, and really listen to them. Respond to what they say so they know you’re listening and not just hearing them.

Call.

  • If you can’t visit, be sure to call your elderly relative, and call often. Hearing your voice can be so important. Encourage other family members to call, too.

Follow up.

  • Keep communication lines open after the holidays. The days following can lead to post-holiday sadness. Visit or call to make sure your older adult is still doing okay.

As the holiday season approaches, we encourage you to let your loved ones at Stone County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center know that you love and miss them. Give us a call at 601.928.1889, and we’ll work with you to ensure that this holiday season is a special one.


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