Help the Senior Loved One in Your Life Avoid Holiday Depression with these Tips
Sometimes as we age, the holidays can be filled with stress rather than cheer, and we don’t feel like celebrating much anymore. What used to be a joyous occasion can take on new meanings as life throws us curve balls.
We think we’re supposed to be exceptionally happy this time of year, but that expectation alone can cause people of all ages to become sad or depressed. Family caregivers and older adults are especially susceptible to the holiday blues.
There is no reason to wait until depression happens to act on it, because there are approaches that can help prevent and minimize the symptoms. Generally, what can help is not being too hard on yourself for the difficulty you or your loved one may be experiencing.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to make the holiday season happier:
- Keep a regular schedule and build in breaks. Adequate physical and mental rest is crucial, especially during the hectic holiday season.
- Consider hiring respite care or asking a family member or friend to pitch in with your loved one’s care so you can disconnect and recharge.
- Do not feel guilty for picking and choosing which holiday plans you and your loved one can commit to.
- Make sure you and your loved one get regular exercise. Unfortunately, it’s typical for people to stop doing the healthy things they usually do because of holiday activities and the inclement weather. Make exercise and other forms of self-care a top priority, even it’s only twenty minutes each day.
- Avoid overeating at every meal. Save indulging for special meals, like the big family dinner or the pot luck at work. Balancing indulgence with light, healthy meals will help you and your loved one feel less lethargic and prevent digestive issues.
If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly.
Remember that the real meaning of the holidays is to be thankful now and for what the future may bring. Know that the meaning of holidays can change from year to year. Talk with people you trust about how you are feeling and encourage your loved one to do the same. Support groups are an excellent resource for family caregivers and seniors alike. Consider making a doctor’s appointment if you or your loved one are really struggling with the holiday blues this year. He or she can suggest medications and non-pharmaceutical options to help you feel better.