The holiday season is suppose to be festive and full of joy, however, it can be depressing for seniors who’ve lost loved ones or are having health or financial problems. Older adults may be overwhelmed by the ongoing holiday demands such as: parties, shopping, cooking, cleaning or even entertaining. When this happens, it can be difficult to prevent the oncoming of stress and depression. According to the American Geriatrics Society, “The 2004 suicide rate for Americans over the age of 65 was 14 per 100,000.” Here are some tips for you to decrease depression that is ignited by the holidays.
Acknowledge their feelings:
Seniors who’ve lost a loved one or have chronic health conditions can be very depressed during the holiday season. These imminent feelings of depression are normal and need to be expressed and acknowledged. You shouldn’t pressure seniors to be happy just because it’s the holidays. Instead create some ideas for that can uplift the spirits of older adults during this holiday period. Here are some suggestions:
- A trip to the movies.
- Having lunch together at a nearby favorite restaurant.
- Creating something together, such as a scrapbook or baking cookies.
- Playing their favorite card games or constructing a puzzle.
Be social and have meaningful conversations:
One of the biggest complaints that we hear when asking seniors about their times back home with their families is that they didn’t feel heard or noticed. This issue is rather universal amongst senior citizens as made evident by it being the number one tip to enhance a senior’s holiday experience, according to Aging Care. For many seniors, the post-holiday season is one of heightened depression and loneliness. The easiest way to prevent this is to spend an ample amount of time spent with them. Ask them about their day, what they’ve been up to, what’s new in their world, how they’re feeling, anything to make sure that their voice is being heard just as much as everyone else’s at the table. With over 6 million seniors in the United States experiencing depression, it is important to identify its symptoms and provide your loved one with the comfort they deserve.
Engage in activities:
Participating and engaging in family fun activities can alleviate symptoms of stress and depression. Research of create some exciting and invigorating activities that the whole family can take part in, not only will it bring joy during the holiday season but it will also prevent senior from feeling isolated or unwanted. Here is a head start on some interested activities that can be done during your holiday festivities:
- Decorating the environment with holiday ornaments can greatly help seniors reconnect with their imagination and gain a sense of serenity through the creative process.
- Play some festive music to get into the holiday spirit. Whether you listen to live music performances or playing a recording, this can help to inspire and entertain seniors.
- There’s nothing like the scents of the holidays. Cinnamon, vanilla, pine and mistletoe are only a few of the delightful scents that you can apply to your home that also provide potential benefits to a senior’s health.
At Poet’s Walk, a Spring Hills Memory Care Community, we understand that this the most wonderful time of the year and welcome our residents into our loving, nurturing environment. Our Director of Resident Engagement, Phillip Robb, noted that, “We aim to prevent the feelings of isolation and depressions that many seniors experience during this time of the year. The holidays are suppose to be enjoyed by everyone and we encourage all family members to come out and celebrate with their loved ones.” We here at Poet’s Walk hope that you enjoy your holiday!