Senior Depression Over the Holidays—What you Need to Know

Senior Depression Over the Holidays—What you Need to Know

A senior looks at a gift.

December 21, 2021

The holiday season is all about enjoying the time spent with your family members, but sometimes, it can also be a stressful time in your older relatives' lives. At Heather Glen Senior Living, we put together a list of behaviors you can watch out for with your loved ones this holiday season—and also what you can do to help.  

Figure out the cause

There can be a number of reasons as to why your older loved ones feel depressed each year when the holidays roll around. 

Firstly, it’s possible that the dreary winter weather is having a greater impact on their emotional wellbeing than you may realize. The “winter blues” could certainly be real in their life, and if the weather outside is cold and dreary, you’ll want to keep a closer eye on how it is affecting your loved ones during this time.

For any older relatives that are possibly unable to drive anymore, they could also be experiencing a more intense feeling of isolation from their loved ones. The holidays are a busy time for everyone, so if they are unable to drive themselves to visit their loved ones and only inconsistently have visitors show up at their home—the holidays could sometimes make them feel lonelier than ever. 

The holiday season is also often seen as a time to spend with family and friends, so if your older relatives have lost many people who were important to them—the holiday get-togethers could be a painful reminder that there are some who are unable to be with them this year. 

Keep all of these ideas in mind when you visit your older relatives over the next few weeks, and encourage them to talk with you about how they are feeling during this time. 

Recognize the signs of depression

According to the National Institute on Aging, there are a few things you can watch out for when trying to see if your older loved ones are depressed this holiday season. Depression is not something that can easily be categorized—it differs depending on the individual, but here are a few common signs they pointed out that you can look for. 

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Irritability, restlessness or having trouble sitting still
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Eating more or less than usual, usually with unplanned weight gain or loss

As we make our way into the holiday season, keep an eye out to see if your loved ones are showing any of the above signs.

Make the most out of your time together

Most importantly—this season is about spending time with those you love. Ask your loved ones to tell you stories about their life, spend a night cooking dinner together or enjoy a family game night. Whatever you do, give them your time and your energy this holiday season—and make the most of the time you have with one another. 

We know the worry you might be feeling when thinking about your older loved ones during the holiday season—that’s why we do what we do at Heather Glen Senior Living. Give us a call at  (610) 841-4478 or contact us online today to see exactly how our incredible team of professionals can help alleviate your worries and elevate your loved ones’ lives.

Ask Kim & Jessica