While the holidays are full of joy and laughter, seniors can find the season bittersweet. The holiday season can bring on mixed emotions for several reasons, such as missing loved ones, and the colder, grayer days can add to these feelings. Helping seniors combat holiday-related sadness involves both understanding how they’re feeling and providing them with healthy outlets for their emotions.
How to Help Seniors Combat Holiday-Related Sadness
1. Take advantage of seasonal depression remedies.
Does seasonal depression have a part in the senior’s holiday-related sadness? Studies have shown that numerous methods of combating seasonal depression can be very effective, including:
- Using light therapy boxes and dawn simulators.
- Obtaining a therapeutic massage.
- Trying aromatherapy.
- Increasing Vitamin D intake.
- Sitting near windows or in sunrooms.
2. Accept the feelings.
Remember that it’s OK for people to feel the way they feel, even during the holidays. Your senior loved one doesn’t have to pretend to feel jolly emotions that aren’t truly there. In fact, talking about their feelings with you can be a way for them to release negative emotions. If anything, it’s possible that other people in your life are feeling the same way and will welcome the opportunity to talk about it.
3. Volunteer together in the community.
One way to help seniors combat holiday-related sadness is to give back. Gather your family and friends together to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or perhaps you can all volunteer to become Big Brothers or Big Sisters, which has positive effects on the Bigs as much as the Littles.
4. Inspire them to get involved.
If you know the senior is talented in baking, designing tablescapes, wrapping gifts, playing the piano, or something similar, encourage them to use these abilities as much as possible during the holidays.
You may want to ask them to impart their wisdom to you or young children as well. Helping others can lead to positive emotions. New activities and interactions with younger generations can be very uplifting for an elder who is in physical or emotional pain.
5. Encourage socialization.
Some people are naturally introverted, and that’s OK. But if your senior loved one is more of an extrovert but hasn’t been himself or herself lately, ask why things have changed. If they normally participate in clubs, volunteer organizations, or church events, offer to go with them in order to encourage them to continue to participate. A positive social circle is known to improve seniors’ overall outlook.
6. Suggest that they participate in events within the senior community.
If your loved one resides in a senior living community, check the activities calendar to see what is going on in the nearby area, such as local school or extracurricular programs that encourage socialization between seniors and students.
If the senior living community has a private dining room, you can host a holiday celebration with your loved one and family there, or you could help decorate your loved one’s apartment.
Seniors can also benefit by taking advantage of the resources, personal development classes, trips, and other special events offered through local senior centers.
How Living at Waltonwood Makes a Difference
In some cases, in order to help seniors combat holiday-related sadness, it may be wise to seek the advice of a family doctor or therapist. The senior could be experiencing physical ailments that are impacting mood, or could benefit from talking confidentially with a mental health therapist.
At Waltonwood, we make every effort to provide seniors with the care and support they need during the holidays. Whether it’s through social events that are offered, physical therapy that is provided, or simply a warm hand that is extended, our focus is always on providing our residents with a superb quality of life.
For more information about our life enrichment programs at our senior living communities in Virginia, North Carolina, or Michigan, make an appointment to come in and talk with us.