Seniors and Post-Holiday Blues: Why it Happens and What to Do

The holidays can be a time of joy, togetherness and connection. For seniors that are isolated from family and friends, these happy feelings can be replaced with anxiety or depression once the festivities end.

Feeling blue after the holidays is not uncommon for older adults – especially for those that are isolated from loved ones, suffering from a physical illness or those with a less busy lifestyle.

Taking a proactive approach to combatting sadness following the holidays is critical. Depression can have long-lasting negative health impacts, and the effect of social isolation is also significant – it can have a negative health effect equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

There are many ways to keep the post-holiday blues away. Making plans, being active and continuing to connect with loved ones are some of the top ways to move forward into the new year with positive momentum and intentional action. Some specific ideas include:

  • Plan travel and reunions: Booking a getaway, or making plans to see family and friends, can help those that live far from their loved ones. A trip or reunion doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate – scheduling an outing or dinner with the family in the coming months can help lift spirits.
  • Learn something new: For some seniors, anxiety and depression can be worse when they are idle. Taking up a hobby or learning a new skill can provide a challenge that is enjoyable, and activity can combat negative thinking.
  • Relive the best moments: Collecting photos and memories from the latest holiday season, and looking at past year’s mementos, can bring back the joy felt while celebrating. And remembering the best times can help seniors feel gratitude and connection – even when the ones they love aren’t right there.
  • Give back: Volunteering is a great way to ease post-holiday sadness. Helping others in need, whether it’s a short- or long-term commitment, can have a positive impact on everyone involved. And, there are volunteer opportunities available for those that are able to get out into the community as well as activities for those that have mobility issues or prefer to volunteer from their own home.
  • Physical activity is good for the body and soul: Fitness centers often have discounts at the beginning of the year, and there are low-impact exercises that can be done at home or outside. And physical activity can improve both the body and the mind. Older adults should always consult with their doctor before starting a new exercise program.
  • Dance and sing into the new year: Turning someone’s mood around can be as simple as listening to happy songs, playing an instrument or dancing the afternoon away. Seniors can ask family and friends for suggestions, make playlists of their favorite tunes or take time to rediscover an album they love.

 

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

Our goal is to provide uplifting in-home care that benefits seniors and their families. The individualized care plans we create for our clients that consider physical goals as well as non-physical mental health needs. Our caregivers can provide transportation to community events, support physician-prescribed exercise regimens, provide companionship and help families stay connected through technology. We strive to elevate the human spirit through quality, compassionate, joyful care.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

 

 

References:

Health Resources & Services Administration. “The Loneliness Epidemic.” Web. 2019.

U.S. News. “Depression in Seniors: Why the Holidays Can Be Hard.” Web. 2018.

HelpGuide. “Depression in Older Adults: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment. Web. 2019.

WebMD. “Holiday Depression and Stress.” Web. 2018.

National Council on Aging. Mental Health this Holiday and Beyond: 4 Steps to Combat Lonliness in Seniors.” Web. 2016.

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