With the holiday season upon us, putting some cheer in our senior care is a great way to fend off depression. For most of us, the holidays are a time of getting together, having fun, and celebrating or going to parties. However, for many seniors, the holidays signify loneliness, and sadness.
During the holiday season, seniors are often more susceptible to depression, and emotional isolation, especially if they have lost a loved one or spouse. The cause of the depression is not the actual holiday, but the memories it conjures up of happier times in their life. This could have a destructive effect on their well-being and quality of life.
If you are providing senior care to a friend, or loved one, there are both mental and physical symptoms to look for:
- Mood swings
- Loss of appetite resulting in weight loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling worthless and helpless
- Personal care and hygiene are lacking
- Talking about death
- Withdrawing from activities they normally enjoy
The following are tips for exceptional senior care during the holidays:
- Stroll down memory lane with them. Encourage them to share their stories, and memories by looking through old photo albums, watching family videos, and talking about happy times.
- Don’t over-stimulate them with large family gatherings that could be noisy, and confusing for them. This type of setting could also create irritability and fatigue. Have a quiet place where they could get away to rest or take a nap.
- Avoid making them feel embarrassed, or uncomfortable. If they are suffering from short-term memory, they may not remember events that you are recalling to a group of people. If it seems they are having a hard time remembering, then don’t push it, and call out to the fact that they can’t remember.
- Make new memories for the here and now. While it is great for seniors to reminisce great times of the past, it is equally important for them to create new memories. Take in the sights as you drive and check out the holiday decorations, or the festive decorations at the mall as you take your loved one on a window-shopping spree.
- Holiday meals are a great way for the young, and old to participate and feel included. Find a simple task that aligns with the elders physical limitations that they won’t find overwhelming or frustrating.
- Seniors confined to indoors should be exposed to daylight more frequently to reduce winter depression.
If you are able to recognize and react to the signs of depression in elders during the holiday season, then you will truly be able help tackle the “holiday blues” and redirect your loved one to a happy and healthy holiday season.
For more information about senior care in Ladue, MO contact Senior Services Unlimited. We are an elder care agency providing affordable and respectful home care to couples, veterans, and the disabled. call (314) 646-8131.