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6 months ago · · 0 comments

Help Your Loved One Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

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For many families, the holidays looked very different this past year. The big family meals, the opening of presents on Christmas Day, and attending religious services got replaced with virtual Zoom hangouts.

The holidays were likely more difficult than other past holidays, especially for seniors who were already experiencing an increased level of isolation and loneliness. Prior to COVID, The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that 50% of those with depression felt their depression worsen over the holidays because they weren’t able to be with family. Now the holidays are over. Your loved one may have difficulty adjusting after the busyness of the season, the fun conversations with family, and the overall change of this year’s holiday celebrations.

What Depression Can Look Like

Depression can look different between individuals. It is important that you or a caregiver, recognize any changes in your loved one’s personality, energy level, and social activity. The telltale sign of post-holiday depression is your loved one not being themselves. Other symptoms of post-holiday depression in seniors include:

  • Not feeling like bathing, brushing their teeth or hair, or getting dressed

  • Becoming socially isolated

  • Sleeping too much or difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • Refusing to eat

  • Persistent sadness and tearfulness

  • Slowed thinking and trouble concentrating

  • Changes in weight

  • Disinterest in the things they once enjoyed

  • Increased feelings of worry, helplessness, and worthlessness

Help Your Loved One Start the Year Off on a Positive Note

Though COVID may make it difficult for you to be there with your loved ones to cheer up their spirits, there are some ways you can help them overcome their post-holiday blues. These include:

  • Identify the depression source. For many elderly adults, the holidays can be reminders of friends and family members who have passed on. The inability to help can lead to feelings of guilt. Isolation can make one feel angry, sad, or lonely. The limitations of chronic health conditions or financial strain can cause anxiety and feelings of worthlessness.
    Finding the source of your loved one’s post-holiday depression can enable you to take appropriate action.

  • Stay connected. Encourage family members to call or video chat with your loved one regularly, such as once a week. You can also send letters and care packages with goodies and photos of family members and friends.

  • Encourage involvement. Help your loved one get connected to a charity whose mission is something they are passionate about. Encourage them to volunteer with the organization. Volunteering is a great way to help your loved one socialize and stay busy while giving them a sense of purpose.

  • Get out and about. Fresh air and sunlight boost one’s mood, promotes relaxation, and betters one’s health. Encourage your loved one to join a fitness class or walking group to get exercise. Physical activity can help alleviate sleep problems, reduce stress, improve one’s mood, and promote clear thinking.

  • Learn a new hobby. Idleness increases the risk of depression. In their free time, your loved one can learn something new like a second language, play a musical instrument, garden, or take up painting. Learning not only keeps one busy, but keeps the brain sharp.

  • Listen to music. Happy songs and tunes are easy ways to pick up your loved one’s spirit. You can either introduce them to upbeat songs you enjoy or help them make a playlist of their favorite songs and tunes. For more fun, exercise, and mental stimulation, encourage your loved one to sing and dance to the music.

Post-holiday depression is common among the elderly. The challenges of this past year may have heightened the mental and physical effects of depression on your loved one. It is a new year with many positive things are still to come.

Tribute memory care offers various options that promote health, well-being, and enjoyment that can lessen your loved one’s post-holiday depression. Our community offers programs to strengthen your loved one’s mind and body so they can thrive. Contact Tribute today to learn about our services and how we can help your loved one feel at home.

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