November 18, 2018
Ah, the holidays: they’re the most wonderful period of the year, or perhaps the most difficult. For many seniors who have lost loved ones, are battling chronic health issues, or are experiencing isolation and loneliness, the holidays can result in depression. And, the family caregivers who take care of a senior loved one may also be prone to holiday blues, as a result of the overabundance of stress.
It’s possible, however, to restore the holiday season to a time full of joy. Our St. Louis home health care team provides tips on how to reduce stress and beat the holiday blues by using the following guidelines:
- Locate medical assistance. First and foremost, it is crucial to relay any suspected symptoms of depression (alterations in sleeping and eating habits, lack of desire for previously enjoyed activities and socializing, sluggishness and consistent sadness) to your senior loved one’s (or your) primary care physician. You can find excellent treatment options readily available, and it’s important to eliminate other health issues.
- Make healthy choices. With the amount of high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt food products to choose from during the holiday season, it’s relatively easy to let a healthy diet slip and overindulge. Yet eating unhealthy, as well as drinking too much alcohol, can bring about feelings of depression. It is equally important to have a lot of sleep; 8 hours is most beneficial for most adults.
- Create new traditions. Often for aging parents, holiday traditions have had to be modified as time passes. Starting a brand new normal isn’t usually easy, but may lead to renewed interest in holiday celebrations. Try joining in a night of caroling, a shopping and lunch outing at a new place, attending the neighborhood high school’s holiday play or performance, etc.
- Reminisce. Instead of steering clear of emotional conversations about lost loved ones or past holidays, invite the senior to share memories, and take enough time to listen and engage in the conversation. Looking through photos or watching home movies could help the senior process the loss and begin to move forward toward acceptance and peace.
- Help another. Nothing improves our spirits quite like knowing we’ve helped another individual. Seek out opportunities for your senior loved one to volunteer in some way to help people in need: baking treats for an area homeless shelter, picking up small toys and gifts to give to the children’s hospital, putting together care packages for people in the armed forces, etc.
For further suggestions to encourage your elderly loved one to be active and engaged during the holidays and all year long, contact Continuum’s home care experts. Our fully trained caregivers are skilled in assisting seniors to live life to the fullest, and we are here for you with as much or as little assistance as necessary. Contact us online or call us at (314) 863-9912 for additional information about our St. Louis home health services.