As the holidays approach, a lot of us are excited to greet the new weather, celebrate with friends and family, and appreciate all the season has to offer. But for seniors, the holidays can be a difficult time. Less daylight can affect mood, holiday gatherings may remind seniors of loved ones lost, and a change in tradition could cause feelings of loneliness. Senior Living Management has a few ideas on how to beat the holiday blues this season.
Instead of assuming the seniors in your life have plans for the holidays, coordinate with them ahead of time to get together. That way they’ll have an event to look forward to and won’t worry about spending a special day alone. The gathering doesn’t have to be extravagant. Simply coming together for a meal or to watch a holiday movie can brighten your loved one’s day. The American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation says seniors should ask family and friends for assistance if they need help getting to holiday parties or events. Take the initiative to offer a ride to your loved one so they don’t even have to ask.
Even before the actual holiday arrives, encourage your loved ones to get out and about. The Health in Aging Foundation recommends seniors get out of their homes, even if it’s just for a walk. Exercise can help boost your mood year-round, not just around the holidays, and getting more exposure to light, including sunshine, can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a kind of seasonal depression.
Support your loved one in talking about their feelings, concerns, and memories. The Health in Aging Foundation points out that it’s important to acknowledge your loved one’s feelings of loss, loneliness, or sadness thinking about the holidays. Listen to them talk about what they’re going through and try to understand where they’re coming from.
Does your loved one still seem to feel like something is missing this holiday season? Consider a volunteer activity. That might mean visiting an organization to give your time, making something by hand like knitted hats, or shopping for a gift to give to a child in need. Volunteering is an excellent way to brighten your mood, and it’s a great way to make new friends. Tell your loved one you’d be more than happy to help them find local volunteer opportunities, and go with them to do it.
Want to learn more about how to help the seniors in your life stay healthy and happy? Visit our blog.