The Caring Corner - Blog

6 Reasons Seniors Feel Sad During the Holiday Season

By Emma Dickison

Blue Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

For many of us, the holiday season is a time filled with joy and cheer. The holidays mean time off from work to spend quality time with our loved ones, give and receive gifts and attend parties with friends and family. Unfortunately for many seniors, the holidays can also be an isolating and lonely time. If you think your aging loved one seems to be acting different, quieter, or more withdrawn this holiday season, these might be just a few reasons why.

Why is Mom So Sad?

  1. Memories – The holidays are an emotional time, a time in which we focus on connecting and making memories with the ones that mean the most to us. Remembering lost loved ones and happy times gone by can cause seniors to feel sad.
  2. Limited mobility – Often times, medical conditions like arthritis or injuries can prohibit full mobility. Perhaps your elderly loved one needs the help of a walker, a wheelchair, or is fragile and at risk of falling? Decreased ability to move around as they used to can hinder their ability to fully participate in the holiday celebration.
  3. Living Alone – According to the Administration on Aging, one out of every eight Americans is now over 65, and 28% of them live alone. Many seniors experience a lack of regular contact with others that can put them at risk of health conditions like dementia and heart disease.
  4. Living in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility – One of the greatest things about the holidays is enjoying your time at home. Many seniors long for the comforts of their own home during the holidays and reminisce about the traditions created there over the years.
  5. Financial Stress – The recession hit some people very hard and many seniors are now living on a limited, fixed income. Your loved one may be upset that they cannot provide an abundant holiday like they used to and this may cause them to feel inadequate when it comes time for the family to unwrap their gifts.
  6. Depression – It is important to note that sadness during the holiday season is a relatively normal experience for some seniors. However, if you have noticed that symptoms of depression are a year-round occurrence, it is important to take action and consult a skilled professional.

Make the Season Brighter

For many seniors, the magic of Christmas has nothing to do with presents, but with presence.

A simple visit can make all the difference in their day. Human interaction, especially with loved ones, can make the holiday season a little brighter. If your loved one is having difficulty participating in the celebrations, then bring the celebrations to them. Traditions change as we age and you can create new traditions with your aging loved one this holiday season. Talk together about the feelings they are having. Sharing these feelings and knowing that someone is listening to them can make seniors feel much better.

If you live far from your aging loved one and are worried about them this holiday season, hiring a caregiver for companion services may be something to consider. Home Helpers companion services include: talking, shopping together, playing cards and games, reading and looking through photo albums, and going to social events.

Our Senior Holiday Checklist can help you recognize the signs of senior sadness. Print this checklist and share with your family members to make sure that you can all have a happy holiday!