Community Blog

The holidays can be a difficult time for seniors

By Vicki Crow

The holidays can be a depressing time for seniors. Read on for some helpful tips on how to prevent it this holiday season.

Everyone looks forward to the holidays, they are the best time of year filled with family get-togethers, dinner parties and fun traditions; however for seniors, this can be the most depressing of all seasons as they think about their lost loved ones. In most cases, the family is hundreds of miles away, and seniors struggle to perform simple day-to-day task such as decorate, shop, prepare a meal. This when they can start to feel sad and frustrated they can’t move around like they did when they were younger.

Home Helpers, is the leading in-home senior care company, we offer local families the vital service of hiring senior loved ones a holiday companion. This season you could provide your beloved Grandma or Grandpa with the gift of a holiday companion that will help remove the burden of decorating, preparing the house for guests and even holiday shopping. 

The good news is that with the holiday blues they are often just temporary and go aways when the holidays end. They are also sometimes associated with the time change, as daylight hours become shorter. However, if the depression seems to continue after the holidays it may be a sign of something else. 

Senior depression is often mistaken for other age-related issues. In fact, stress-related events such as the holidays may trigger half of all depressive episodes, according to the U.C. Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Some common signs to be aware of for senior depression are:

• Problems concentrating
• Lack of appetite
• Extreme fatigue – excessive sleeping. The body shuts down to escape from the outside world.
• Anti-social – stopping normal routines such as church, outings etc...
• Older adults may not express sadness (unlike kids with depression).
• Abuse of drugs or alcohol
• Being angry – sarcastic and criticizes others’ joy of the season.

How Home Helpers can help your loved one beat the holiday blues:

Keeping alcohol to a minimum this season is important, it’s a known depressant and it can cause more harm for your aging parent. There are many other non-alcoholic beverages that will have your aging parent and guests toasting to the season. Check out our coming blog posts and facebook page for some seasonal recipe ideas.

Seniors don’t always have the money to purchase holiday gifts for loved ones, that can cause a lot of stress for them. They feel the need to buy gifts and participate in the season of giving. We here at Home Helpers Walnutport encourage the seniors in our care to write personalized cards sharing memories, old photos and more with their loved ones. These are often gifts that will be cherished more than store bought items.

Encourage seniors to exercise – Various studies reveal that staying physically active not only makes people feel good but it has the same effect on mood and brain chemistry as antidepressants.

It’s easy to get caught up in your own holiday hustle and bustle, preparing the house, attending school plays and holiday events but our loved ones are often sitting at home alone and don’t have the options to attend these types of functions. In most cases, a simple phone call daily to chat and reminisce about childhood holidays, favorite traditions and other memories they want to share.

These simple calls can bring a ton of joy to your loved one, they often mean more to them than anything you can purchase for them.

A reminder that our Caregivers also cook, clean, drive seniors to doctors and stores, and help decorate!

Call (610) 596-7055 to learn more.