Beating the Holiday Blues for Seniors
Everyone experiences the holiday blues now and then, but for seniors this time of year can be especially difficult. If you believe an older adult in your life may be feeling lonely or depressed as the holidays approach, there are many things you can do to help lift their spirits.
While you may be busy with your own holiday rituals or overwhelmed by your to-do list, now’s the time to focus on what really matters. After all, helping those in need is what the holiday season is all about.
Our Tips for Helping Seniors Battle the Holiday Blues
Whether an elderly adult in your life is dealing with the loss of a loved one, coping with age-related difficulties, or feeling socially isolated, it only takes a little care on your part to enhance their holiday experience.
Here are a few ideas to brighten up their spirits this season and ward off those pesky holiday blues:
- Make Arrangements for Long-Distance Family Members
Depending on your current living situation, you simply may not be able to visit a loved one who resides in a distant city or state. However, you can try to make other arrangements to ensure they have something to look forward to and don’t spend this time alone. Whether you ask an extended family member or family friend to drop by or you schedule a visit from a compassionate senior care provider, taking this small step can make a big difference.
- Take a Walk Down Memory Lane
Encourage your loved one to explore old memories with you if they seem up for it. Getting out old photo albums and telling stories from “back in the day” can lift seniors’ spirits. Sharing memories is also a great way for elderly adults to connect with younger family members who may not have heard about the senior’s life and experiences first-hand.
- Be Accommodating
Sometimes being surrounded by a lot of people, even if they are family, is not quite what seniors need when they are struggling with the holiday blues. At family gatherings, keep an eye on your loved one and watch for cues they may need a break from the small talk and loud noise. Have a quiet place they can easily get to and take the time to offer the one-on-one conversation and attention they may be craving.
- Do a Deep Clean
Depression, as well as decreased energy and mobility, can weaken seniors’ motivation to keep their homes tidy. The resulting clutter and general uncleanliness can even further damper their mood. Helping your loved one tidy up, get rid of things they no longer use, and make their living area feel fresh can lift their spirits and make their home much safer.
- Help with Holiday Decorations
Once your loved one’s home is nice and clean, offer to help them decorate for the holidays, adding festive touches that bring joy. Many seniors suffer from a lack of strength and coordination making it difficult to put much effort into decorating. They may need your help unpacking and arranging cherished holiday decorations that bring to mind happy memories.
- Be Inclusive
Seniors who used to host holiday gatherings sometimes feel uncomfortable sitting back and relaxing at family gatherings. Help them feel useful and needed by including them in any way possible. Even doing the most basic tasks, like greasing a cookie sheet, passing out gifts, garnishing dishes, or sharing recipes can encourage them to embrace the holiday spirit and help them feel more like themselves again.