While the holiday season is filled with festivities, it can also be a difficult time emotionally for seniors. Whether your loved one resides at home or in an assisted living facility, awareness is the first step toward a happier holiday season. Today, we want to help you identify potential issues in your loved one’s mood and address hoiday depression before it takes hold.
The Underlying Causes of Holiday Depression in Senior Citizens
The holiday season, often filled with joy and celebration, can also be a challenging time emotionally for seniors. This is true for those living independently as well as those residing in assisted living and memory care facilities, where community and professional care are readily available.
Isolation is a significant factor affecting seniors universally, regardless of their living situation. Even in settings where community events are abundant, the holiday season can evoke feelings of loneliness or separation, especially when family members cannot visit as frequently as they might during other times of the year. On top of this, many seniors move into assisted living after losing a long-time partner. Holidays often bring back memories of happier times with family and friends no longer with us, intensifying feelings of grief and loneliness.
Changes in tradition can also be emotionally challenging. For seniors who have celebrated the holidays in the same way for many years, any alteration – whether due to physical limitations or changes in family dynamics – can be unsettling.
After all this, it is important to remember that no one should be resigned to seasonal depression. Let’s talk more about how you can help your loved one through this season, no matter what they are going through.
Strategies for Managing Holiday Sadness
The challenges of holiday depression in seniors are real, but not insurmountable. There are several actionable steps that both caregivers and family members can take to make the holiday season more manageable and even joyful for their loved ones.
Firstly, medication and psychotherapy are viable treatment options that can be tailored to the individual needs of the senior. Many assisted living facilities have medical staff on-site or partnerships with healthcare providers who can assess and adjust medication or therapy plans. Family members should feel encouraged to communicate openly with these professionals to ensure their loved ones receive the most effective treatment.
Lifestyle changes have the capability of making a significant difference. Simple adjustments like maintaining a regular schedule can provide a sense of stability and predictability, reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms. Physical activity, even if it’s just a short walk around the facility or light exercises in a communal area, can boost endorphins and improve mood.
Engaging in facility-planned holiday activities can also be beneficial, as these events are designed to foster community, provide entertainment, and uplift the seniors who participate. Family members can support this by encouraging their loved ones to join in and volunteering to participate in these activities when possible.
Any form of personal communication – a phone call, a video chat, or even a handwritten letter – can go a long way in bridging the emotional gap. In today’s digital age, staying connected has never been easier, and these small gestures can have a profound impact on a senior’s emotional well-being.
The holiday season doesn’t have to be a time of emotional struggle for seniors in assisted living. Through a combination of treatment, lifestyle adjustments, and support, caregivers and family members have the tools to make a meaningful difference.
A Banyan Residence provides quality assisted living and memory care facilities in Venice, Florida. Call today to schedule a tour.