#19.4 Beat the Blues: Holiday Senior Care (4 of 4)

Uploaded by CaregiverStress on 06.10.2011

Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care, and today I am discussing beating
the Holiday Blues. The holidays are a great time to spend with family and friends but
for many seniors the holidays can be stressful, confusing or even depressing, if their mental,
physical and emotional needs are not taken into account. It is important not to confuse
the holiday blues with depression. If your senior loved one seems depressed take them
to their doctor, depression is not a normal part of aging and should never be ignored.
A physical examination can help determine whether there are any physical causes for
their depression. If not, his or her doctor can decide if the senior might benefit from
seeing a mental health professional. The holiday blues are feelings of profound sadness that
can be provoked by many of the activities of the holiday season. The holiday blues may
also be brought on by Seasonal Affective Disorder or more commonly called Winter Depression.
This is a seasonal illness that can sap your energy and make you moody. It can be provoked
by reductions in sunlight during the short days of winter. It is important for seniors
who spend much of their time indoors to make time for activities that will increase their
exposure to daylight. One way to help offset the holiday blues is to help your senior family
member adhere to their regular schedule of medications and avoid drinking too much alcohol.
Abusing alcohol can provoke inappropriate behavior and can interfere with their medications.
To help beat the holiday blues the Mayo Clinic recommends taking a stroll down memory lane
with your senior loved ones. As we the age, we may have difficulty remembering recent
events but seniors are often able to share stories and observations from the distant
past. Those shared memories are important for the entire family as well. Children enjoy
hearing what it was like when their grandparents were young. Use picture albums, family videos
and music, even theme songs from old radio or TV programs to help stimulate memories
and encourage seniors to share their stories and experiences. Creating new memories is
another tactic to fend off feelings of sadness during the holidays. We all enjoy having new
activities to anticipate, and for seniors, this is especially true. The sense of anticipation
can help to minimize the holiday blues and generate excitement for what lies ahead. Add
some new holiday activities this year such as taking a drive to look at holiday decorations,
window shopping at the mall or strolling along a festive downtown street, and remember to
bring a camera along to capture these new memories so they can be shared at future holiday
Make and freeze casseroles, dressings and dessert ahead of time and cross them off your
list. Cut, chop and wash ingredients earlier in the week. Cook what you enjoy preparing
and purchase the rest, for example, order a cooked turkey and garnish it with fresh
parsley and crab apples for personal touch. For dessert visit your local bakery, that's
their specialty. Remember to purchase the napkins and plates for quicker cleanup. And
for an easy and fast center piece, fill a bowl with fresh fruit or a vase with cranberries
to hold flowers.
So those are just a few tips for enjoying holiday gatherings with your senior loved