During the holidays, we focus on celebration, food, friends and family. However, this festive time of year can make some people feel melancholy. Psychology Today explains this occurrence: “Yet often our anticipation and excitement turns into feelings of depression, commonly called holiday blues. Symptoms can include headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, sadness, intestinal problems, and unnecessary conflict with the family and friends.”

The holidays, which are typically a festive time filled with tradition, travel, family, financial expenditures and celebrations, can be especially hard on our aged loved ones. At Champion Home Health Care, we strive to keep you informed on senior issues and will do our best to help you keep your loved one happy, healthy, and at home for as long as possible. So, if you are home for the holidays in the Melbourne, Florida area and notice your family member is feeling down during the festive season and could benefit from our full range of senior home health care services, be sure to contact us.

During the holidays, if you notice a change in behavior in your aging loved one resulting in unusual fatigue, apathy, desire to be left alone, low energy, appetite changes, disinterest in socializing, carb craving / weight gain, desire to sleep or sadness, he or she may be suffering from the holiday blues. Typically, it is the memories and associations the holiday spurs, not the holiday itself. Although it may be hard to understand the feelings and depressed state are real to the one experiencing the symptoms.

List of possible triggers resulting in the holiday blues:

  • Grief / loss of a loved one / first holiday without significant other
  • Family not together geographically / senior is unable to travel
  • Loss of independence / new physical and mental limitations
  • Financial stressors
  • Loneliness
  • Stress and pressure to prepare and celebrate
  • Loss of traditions
  • Emotions stirred up by revelry of past

There are certain strategies and tips you can incorporate to help engage your senior loved one in the merriment of the season. It is hard to comprehend how such a festive time can bring about gloom, but once you recognize the symptoms and triggers, it is easy to try some of the ideas below to help your family member conquer the holiday blues and experience the joy of the holidays.

How to can help an elderly family member with depression around the holidays:

  • Get them outside! A little light can lighten his or her mood.
  • Help them stay active.
  • Encourage a healthy diet.
  • Enable him or her to participate in hobbies, events and activities to reduce loneliness and boredom.
  • Stay in contact.
  • If a significant other has recently passed, acknowledge the loss. Perhaps light a candle in memoriam. Remember aloud…share thoughts, anecdotes and memories about the deceased as this can be cathartic.
  • Include your aging loved one in activities whenever possible to increase a sense of belonging. For example: attend church services, bake cookies, holiday shop, craft, go caroling, wrap gifts together, attend local holiday events such as tree lightings, etc.

Take special note this holiday season to make sure your senior loved one is not suffering from a case of the holiday blues. And if you realize you have some concerns regarding the safety, health, and happiness of your family member who is living alone at home, be sure to contact Champion Home Health Care. We can work together to keep your loved one merry and bright right at home. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!