5 Ways to Help Seniors Beat the Holiday Blues
With the festive holiday season upon us, it isn’t uncommon for the holiday blues to creep up on seniors. Some of the signs include sadness, fatigue, inactivity, and a loss of interest or appetite, and the reasons for the blues can vary. Memories of happier times, declining health, loss of a spouse or friends or even dietary and medical problems can all contribute to seasonal depression. And while it’s completely normal for seniors to feel a bit down, it isn’t healthy for them to be left alone.
So with the holiday upon us, take some time to make sure mom and dad are staying active! Here are five ways to help seniors beat the holiday blues:
Many senior living facilities invite seniors from the community to visit and enjoy the activities available. It is a great way for seniors to find new friends. Another option for your parents or the lonely senior in your neighborhood is getting them together with a large group of friends during the holidays to share the latest pictures of grandkids, and catch up on each other’s lives. Or try other activities like culinary clubs, trivia games, happy hours, choir or cookie bakes.
- Family Time.
Sure, time seems to be a valuable commodity as we approach the holidays: last-minute gifts, food shopping, cleaning. Remember – though – that it’s important to involve mom and/or dad in the build-up to the holiday, not just the main event. Whether it’s a pre-holiday get-together with coffee and dessert or getting their input on decorations and the menu…take the time to involve seniors in the holiday planning this year. Anything that brings family together will lift their spirits!
- Get Involved.
Nothing screams “Christmas”like getting out and volunteering to help those who may be less fortunate – and it’s an excellent opportunity for seniors to connect with others in their local community. Whether it’s a local food kitchen, a charity, church, or an assisted living community…volunteering gets active seniors out of the house and helping others in need. And it’s not just a spirit-booster…it also increases their self-confidence.
Those holiday blues can also be driven away by some good old-fashioned endorphins! A brisk winter power walk or a slow stroll will get the blood pumping and can help ward off feelings of depression. So don’t let seniors lock themselves indoors on warm sunny days when they could be walking along Hokendaqua Creek! But even on cold and gloomy days, exercise should be on the agenda. Local senior centers, the YMCA and churches all offer exercise programs for seniors…another great way for mom and dad to meet different people and socialize.
- Head to Church.
The holidays are a very spiritual time, regardless of one’s religion. Many of the activities listed above can happen in conjunction with a senior’s church or religious organization. Churches offer other wonderful opportunities to seniors, from caroling in the community to visiting other church members in the hospital to baking pies…churches are a major hub of activity throughout the year – and especially at Christmas!
The key to keeping the holiday blues at bay is to keep seniors occupied with positive activities. Whether it’s volunteering at the church, taking power walks on beautiful days, spending time with family or meeting new people and trying new activities, making seniors feel included and valuable during the holidays can help reduce the impact of any seasonal depression they may be experiencing.