Ah, the holidays: they are oftentimes the most wonderful period of the year, or perhaps the most difficult. For some seniors who have lost loved ones, are battling chronic health problems, or are suffering from isolation and loneliness, the holidays can trigger depression. And, the family caregivers who look after a senior loved one can also be susceptible to holiday blues, as a result of the excess of stress.
It’s possible, however, to restore the holiday season to an occasion full of joy. Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, serving St. Joseph and the surrounding areas, provides the following guidelines:
Locate medical assistance. First of all, it is important to communicate any suspected signs of depression (modifications to sleeping and eating behaviors, absence of desire for previously enjoyed activities and socializing, lethargy and consistent sadness) to your senior loved one’s (or your) primary care doctor. There are successful treatment options available, and it’s worthwhile to rule out various other health concerns.
Make healthier choices. With many high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt foods readily available through the holidays, it’s easy to let a healthy diet slip and overindulge. However, eating unhealthy foods, along with consuming an excessive amount of alcohol, can bring about feelings of depression. It is also important to get plenty of sleep; 8 hours is recommended for most adults.
Create new traditions. Often for aging parents, holiday traditions have had to change over the years. Starting a brand new normal is not always easy, but could lead to restored interest in holiday festivities. Try participating in an evening of caroling, a shopping and lunch outing at a new site, attending your local high school’s holiday play or performance, etc.
Reminisce. Instead of avoiding emotionally charged conversations about lost friends or past holidays, encourage the senior to share memories, and take sufficient time to listen and participate in the discussion. Looking through photographs or watching home movies could help your senior loved one process the loss and start to move ahead toward acceptance and comfort.
Help others. Nothing enhances our spirits quite like knowing we’ve helped others. Search for opportunities for your senior loved one to volunteer in some capacity to assist people in need: baking cookies for an area homeless shelter, buying small toys and gifts to give to the children’s hospital, putting together care packages for those in the military services, etc.
For additional ideas to inspire your elderly loved one to be active and engaged throughout the holidays and all year long, contact Home Sweet Home In-Home Care’s home care professionals. Our fully trained caregivers are knowledgeable in assisting older adults live life to the fullest, and we’re here for you with as much or as little help and support as necessary. Contact us or give us a call at 269-849-9252 to learn more about St. Joseph, MI senior care.