Dealing With Elderly Depression During the Holidays
Published December 21, 2009 by Jody Guerrieri, RN. in At Home Caregiving, Senior Celebrations
This past weekend, major portions of our country were covered with snow, with some places receiving as much as two feet! While some were bothered by immobility due to the storm, many others took out their sleds and hit the hills. The NY Times even reported that Mayor Bloomberg and the city government provided free sleds and hot chocolate at select hills around New York City. Without a doubt, it looks like many people will be ushering in a very ‘White Christmas.’
But, amidst the joy of sleds and snowball fights, there are those who are fighting another emotion heightened during the holidays. Statistics show that 1 in every 15 people age 65 and older fights depression year round, with sharp increases during the holidays. According to Depression Guide.com, nearly two-thirds of their senior survey respondents said they have suffered from depression during the holidays, often to such an extent that they do not take part in the season’s activities. With Christmas just four days away, many elderly are burdened by the memories of loved ones that have passed. While there is never an easy time of year to deal with the pain of loss, the holiday season seems to act like a magnifying glass on the heart, bringing out the soul’s deepest longings and affections. Even so, this is a time where we want to provide a couple of suggestions for those dealing with elderly depression during this holiday season.
1) Don’t run from the past. Rather, embrace the memories by giving thanks for them. Gratitude is the pathway that leads the soul to satisfying joy.
2) Get involved at a local senior center, church, or community dining hall. You’re not the only one hurting this season. Sharing your heart with others that are in a similar situation will give you someone to lean during tough times.
3) Celebrate the season by making holiday crafts or Christmas ornaments for loved ones. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a hand-made gift.
There is only one thing you can be sure of: depression does not magically go away. You must be proactive in fighting depression this holiday season. Start small with these three steps; joy, peace, and happiness are right around the corner.
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