Many older adults experience sadness after the holiday season has come to an end. Here are some warning signs, and how to help seniors get past holiday blues.
While the holidays are meant to be a time for joy and celebration, it is not uncommon for seniors, and other adults, to experience moments of sadness post-holiday season. In fact, according to a study, conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64% of people report experiencing post-holiday depression. There are many reasons that seniors could experience post-holiday blues including coming down from the excitement associated with the holidays, fear of potential isolation, and being tired from the stress often associated with the holidays. Regardless of the reason for post-holiday sadness, it is crucial to help seniors, and other adults, deal with these feelings.
Here are 5 tips for helping seniors fight post-holiday blues.
Identify What is Causing Feelings of Sadness
One of the most important steps to helping older adults overcome post-holiday blues is understanding what is triggering emotions. It is also important to identify if these feelings are short-term sadness or could lead to depression later on. Depression has been shown to lead to other health issues including insomnia and memory loss. Talking to a senior about their feelings can help identify triggers that are potentially causing an emotional response. If family members are concerned about the well-being of a loved one due to post-holiday blues, they should seek professional support and guidance.
Be Supportive, Not Demeaning
Being supportive and a lifeline for a senior can help them defeat the holiday blues. Oftentimes, just effectively communicating with them and providing companionship can make a huge difference. Being supportive starts through active listening, establishing boundaries, asking caring questions, and allowing your senior loved one to control the pace of the conversation.
To avoid causing damage, conversations should not take a demeaning tone and should provide support not diagnose.
Help Older Adults Establish a Routine
Creating and establishing a routine can help older adults get out of a post-holiday slump. A great way for older adults to stick to a routine is by creating a checklist of their daily schedule. Helping older adults create a daily routine can help them stay motivated and look forward to upcoming events.
Help Older Adults Stay Connected
Technology has made it easier than ever to communicate with others worldwide, however, some older adults are not proficient in using technology. Friends and family can help by introducing older adults to technology and providing them with guidance on how to use them if they want to learn.
Check out this article from Comfort Keepers of the Twin Cities on helping seniors learn and leverage technology.
Consider In-Home Care for Companionship
Seniors with post-holiday blues can benefit greatly by having a caregiver available for support. Many in-home care agencies, like Comfort Keepers, provide seniors and other adults with companionship services, helping seniors who feel isolated or need more social engagement. A caregiver can help look out for depression warning signs, assist in creating a routine, and provide support in and around the home.