Avoiding Holiday Blues In Seniors

Holiday BluesWith Halloween in the rearview mirror, the holiday season is just upon us. A time to spend with family and friends reminiscing about the past year, recounting what we’re most grateful for, and making new memories to treasure forever.

The holiday season is an exciting time, making it all the more confusing when those signs of depression start to sneak in. But, holiday depression is not an uncommon thing. In fact, it’s estimated that 14% of adults experience the “holiday-winter blues”.

Some Signs of Holiday Depression Include:

  • simple activities are more difficult than normal
  • losing interest in what used to bring joy
  • difficulty concentrating
  • more tired than usual

If you notice any of the above in a senior loved one, begin the communication and speak to them about it right away. By talking about what is causing their holiday depression, you may be able to help them address the problem and find a solution early.

What Can Cause Holiday Depression in the Elderly?
Many things can cause depression to develop during the holiday season. Let’s go over the most common causes:

Social Isolation
The holidays are a time when everyone enjoys family gatherings, but not everyone has a large family, or any family at all, to celebrate with. On top of that, some people might not be in a position where they can go to the celebration location, meaning they have to celebrate by themselves. This can be especially prominent for the elderly since traveling is more complicated as we get older.

While the holidays are meant to be a time of fun, they can also be increasingly stressful. For those with large families, there can be endless family gatherings and obligations. While fun, these can also be exceptionally draining for seniors with a lower energy reservoir when compared to younger family members. In addition, COVID-19 is still very prominent and a growing concern during family gatherings. This can be another source of stress for the elderly, who are at a greater risk of contracting and becoming severely impacted by the virus.

As we approach the new year, it is common to also reflect on the past year and what we can change in the new year. However, if the past year brought new stressors such as an unfavorable diagnosis or a change of life, this reflection may push up unwanted emotions that have, thus far, been suppressed. It can be a trying time for the elderly, whose world is continually changing, as much as they might not want it to be. Reflection may also include friends and loved ones who are no longer here. This causes sadness and depression in many seniors.

Tips for Avoiding Holiday Depression
If the cause of holiday blues in your loved one is situational, home health care can be beneficial for helping to relieve the causes of your loved one’s depression. A CNA or PCA “companion” can offer activities and redirection to help avoid isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Avoid Overbooking
When the family obligations become too much, an in-home caregiver can offer personal, one-on-one attention to help your loved one prioritize what is most important to avoid pushing themselves too far.

Get Plenty of Sleep
In-home care can help make sure that your loved one is getting enough sleep at night. A lack of sleep can play a significant role in a negative mood, so getting enough sleep is imperative for your senior loved one.

Spend Time with Loved Ones
When holiday depression kicks in, it’s common to retreat and avoid interaction. Home health aides can ensure that your senior loved one does not close themselves off from those who love and care for them.

Seek Help
If you notice that the above best practices are not remedying the holiday depression, consult your physician to gain advice and professional assistance.

Allcare Home Health caregivers and nurses are available to assist with your in-home care needs during the holidays and all year long. Call us today to schedule an assessment with one of our experienced nurses.

Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Safe Holiday Season!