It’s a well-known flaw in an otherwise upbeat season that many suffer the blues during the holidays. For many seniors, especially those who have lost friends and family, it can be a stressful and depressing time.
Central Wisconsin Senior Living defines the holiday blues as follows:
‘Holiday Blues’ are feelings of profound sadness brought on by all the activities of the holiday season. Seasonal blues can have an impact on all of us particular in the lives of older people. It can impact your physical health, impair your memory and concentration, and prevent you from enjoying the holidays.
There is a number of ways to combat the holiday blues and help your senior have a merrier Christmas. When I was young, we used to go over and help my grandmother address and send Christmas cards. It was fun to engage in a collaborative project, usually involving a sideline in cookies and conversation.
A modern counterpart to this, if you have a computer-savvy senior in your family, would be helping him or her create a holiday YouTube video greeting for friends and family. You could also show them how to use Facebook to share holiday wishes. The Wow! Computer for Seniors is only one of many unique gifts that can help the older adults in your circle get online.
While Christmas cards are wonderful, there is a lot to be said for the immediacy of social media. Video calls in particular can help otherwise isolated seniors continue to engage socially, something that is proven to keep them livelier mentally than those who lack the stimulation.
Another activity that can help fight off the doldrums is driving around the neighborhoods together looking at Christmas lights. It helps to get your older adult out and about, but it does so without the undue physical strain that comes with lots of walking. It’s also a great way to socialize, as everyone will be sitting in the auto together.
Of course, if kitchen facilities are available, cooking together is a tried-and-true holiday pastime and a great distraction from the blue side of things. Who doesn’t have at least one memory of making cookies with Grandma?
The wonderful thing about doing it now is that it evokes those memories of good times, and good memories are what the holiday season is all about. If your relative is having trouble cooking because of deteriorating manual dexterity or failing hand strength, you can make life easier for him or her with a wide array of kitchen tools designed specifically for their needs.
It all comes down to socialization. If you cannot physically visit your older relatives, make sure to call, or even better — video-call — this is no time for anyone to feel isolated.
May you and yours have the happiest of holidays!