Celebrating the upcoming winter holidays can sometimes be a difficult time in the life of an elderly person. While they know they have much to be thankful for, they can also see this time of year as a reminder of things they miss. Be on the lookout for signs of trouble, such as irritability, sadness, anxiety, loss of interest in eating or other activities, and poor hygiene and personal care.
Helping an elderly friend or family member through the “holiday blues” can be as simple as encouraging them to open-up and by reminiscing with them. Taking some time to journal about things they are thankful for can be beneficial. Create a new tradition with them so they can see that there is still plenty of joy in the years ahead. Encourage them to be active. A moving body can help by increasing mood-boosting endorphins. Encourage healthy choices when eating because the holidays are rife with overeating and that can affect your mood and well-being.
If these things don’t seem to be working or the sadness continues for more than two weeks, professional help may be necessary. Don’t be afraid to suggest going to a counselor or a doctor to your elderly friend or family member. It might be a bit of a difficult subject to approach but remind the person how much you care for them and want what’s best for them. Getting help is not a sign of weakness and nothing to be ashamed of.
Everyone has emotional ups and downs, and the holiday blues is not uncommon, but one of the most important things you can do is be present with your elderly friend or family member. That alone can help you recognize the signs of seasonal depression quickly so that you can help them deal with it effectively.