The holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness and hours spent with family. But for many seniors it can be a reminder of a day that was once special but is now spent alone. Many seniors become depressed as the holidays approach. Between the darkening days, the isolation and the thought of another holiday without family, it can become quite severe. For caretakers of seniors who are experiencing depression over the holidays, be on the lookout for changes in behavior.
Caregivers can keep in mind several things:
- Seniors may be thinking of past years when the holidays were spent with family and friends. Through loss of loved ones and loss of tradition, they may now be alone. Being sad is normal but if it persists and is accompanied by weight loss and sleep problems, then it is depression.
- Some seniors are dealing with seasonal affective disorder or SAD. This is caused mostly because of the lack of direct sunlight at this time of year. Take your patient or loved one for short walks outdoors more often, especially during the brightest time of the day.
- Make sure that the patient’s healthcare provider is contacted. Though this may be depression because of the holidays, it’s always best to check that there isn’t another cause for their unhappiness.
- This is the time to ensure that meals are extremely healthy. Add extra vegetables to their diet and cut back on anything containing sugar or caffeine.
- Keep them involved. Talk to them about how they are feeling. It is normal to grieve times and people that are lost. Just having someone listening to them may help lessen their depression.
At the same time, take care of yourself. The holidays can also be difficult for caregivers as they are usually working more hours and working harder to relieve the stress of others. Click here to read the full article on caregivers and seniors with depression.