With special celebrations and traditions, and visits from family far and near, holiday season is a time of joy and togetherness. Unfortunately, coming down from the emotional high of festivities, more than 60% of adults report post-holiday depression. Older adults who live alone with little social interaction are at an even higher risk of post-holiday blues. Working together with these tips, your family can help your senior loved one transition smoothly into a healthy, post-holiday routine.
- Plan the next get-together. Check your calendars now and agree on a date in the coming weeks for another family event to give your older loved one something to look forward to.
- Set up a visit schedule and stay connected. To keep your loved one from long periods of time without visitors or from being overwhelmed by multiple visits within a short time, plan phone or video chats among family and friends between in-person visits. Remember to go analog occasionally. A short, handwritten note, child’s artwork or photos in the mail lets your loved one know they matter.
- Make visits fun. If your loved one can leave the house or senior living community and maintains relative mobility, consider an outing to a park, museum or favorite café. Indoors, create something together, such as a family favorite recipe or photo album. Remember, your time is the most valued gift you can give.
- Have meaningful conversations. When visiting in person or by phone, ask about their day, how they’re feeling and what’s new in their world. Then listen. Follow up on previously discussed topics and reference previous conversations to show your loved one they are important to you.
- Watch for symptoms of depression. What may seem like holiday blues at first, could be clinical depression and worsen if not treated timely. If signs of depression continue despite your efforts, help your loved one seek treatment.
- Consider assisted living or senior living. If distance or other circumstances mean your elderly loved one is deprived of meaningful socialization for extended periods of time, it may be time to consider a move to an independent or assisted living community. Look for senior living that offers a variety of daily activities and the possibility of friendships with other residents, while allowing your senior to maintain an appropriate level of independence.
With little effort, you can help send senior blues packing, and do your part to make this precious time truly golden.