The holiday season is all about family. Spending time together is part of what makes the season so special, part of what spreads holiday cheer. But for some, it can lead to feelings of stress and sadness.
Called the Holiday Blues, this seasonal phenomenon is exacerbated by feelings of loneliness, an emotion that affects a significant number of older Americans. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, this number is greater than 40 percent.
Thus, while the season can be full of holiday cheer, for some it can be stressful and emotional. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As a family member, friend or caregiver, you can play an important role in supporting your older loved ones and making sure that they feel included and valued.
Here are a few things to keep in mind this holiday season:
Remember Past Christmases
As a special time of the year, Christmas evokes many strong memories. Sometimes, people remember events or times in which they felt they were happier than they presently are, leading to feelings of loneliness or depression.
These memories are important to your loved ones. They hold them close to their heart, even if they may not speak about them all that often. Encouraging your loved one to discuss them, to relive them and share them with those who haven’t heard them before can be something that alleviates those feelings. More than that, it can be something that passes important family memories and stories onto the next generation.
Continue Their Traditions and Build New Ones
Is there a movie that you always watched on Christmas Day? Or maybe there was a certain dish that always graced the table or a certain neighborhood that you always visited to see the holiday decorations. Continuing these traditions with your loved one can lead to feelings of happiness. Furthermore, it can make a loved one feel included and valued, as it demonstrates your devotion to them.
Sometimes, however, our loved ones can no longer take part in these activities. When this occurs, it’s important to make sure that they are still included, that they still feel valued. It can be a good time to create new traditions that accommodate your loved ones.
Make Clear, Accommodating Plans
Traveling is not always easy for older adults. Therefore, it is important to plan in advance and make travel plans that can accommodate all parties. This means that sometimes Christmas may have to be celebrated in a different location, one that is the most convenient for your loved one.
While this isn’t always possible, it is ideal. Traveling can certainly be tough, not to mention expensive, during the holiday season. If travel during the Christmas season is difficult, make plans to visit another time, or even celebrate Christmas on a different day.
If a loved one is facing the holiday blues, it might be a sign that they are ready to live in a more social environment, one where they can receive the care that they deserve while reveling in the holiday spirit alongside new friends.
With 61 communities in 12 states [HYPERLINK: https://www.sagora.com/communities/], Sagora Senior Living provides residents with a warm, active environment where they can enjoy dozens of social activities [HYPERLINK: https://www.sagora.com/life-at-sagora/] and chef-prepared, restaurant-quality meals [HYPERLINK: https://www.sagora.com/life-at-sagora/culinary/] that are delicious and nutritious.
Visit your local Sagora Senior Living community today to schedule a tour!