Help seniors stave off the ‘holiday blues’

The holiday season is often seen as a time to be merry, but this can be difficult for some seniors. Whether due to distance from their family or the passing away of friends, some older adults experience feelings of depression when the holidays roll around. Often referred to as the “holiday blues,” feelings of depression during December are not uncommon, but they are also not inevitable. There are a number of steps older adults can take to maintain a positive outlook during the holiday season.

Volunteering is a popular activity among the senior population the whole year, and there are certainly ample opportunities for them to donate their time during the holiday season. Aside from giving back to their local community, volunteering is also a great way for seniors to stay socially engaged and can help stave off symptoms of depression. Some of the most compelling evidence comes from the University of Southern California, where researchers found that volunteering improves chances for a longer life and less disability.

Whether volunteering or not, it’s important for seniors to stay active and engaged whenever possible during the winter months. Even something as simple as attending weekly clubs or classes, spending more time with family members or exercising regularly can keep any feelings of holiday-related depression at bay.

Family caregivers also play a role in helping their elderly loved ones beat the holiday blues by recognizing some of the most tell-tale symptoms. HealthDay News points out that common signs of depression include a loss of interest in hobbies, sleeping more than normal, feelings of restlessness and slowed thinking. Recognizing these symptoms will help caregivers take action.