Older Adults May Need Help Overcoming Holiday Blues

Older Adults May Need Help Overcoming Holiday Blues

For
many older adults, the holiday season can trigger melancholy as they think
about lost loved ones, struggle with health issues or worry about money
problems.

Here
is some advice to help overcome the seasonal blues:

  • Get out and socialize or
         invite family and friends over.  Those
         who find it hard to get around should ask relatives and others for help
         traveling to parties and events.
  • Volunteering can help
         improve mood.  Contact the local
         community organizations or call local schools or religious organizations
         to ask about opportunities nearby.
  • Don't drink too much
         alcohol because it can actually lower your spirits.
  • Accept the fact that many
         people feel blue during the holidays and there is nothing wrong with not
         being "merry."
  • Talking to someone about
         your feelings may help you understand the reasons why you feel sad.
  • Watch for warning signs of
         depression.  While holiday blues are
         temporary and mild, depression is more serious.  Signs of depression include: persistent
         sadness; lack of interest; frequent crying; changes in appetite, weight or
         sleep; constant feelings of fatigue, restlessness, worthlessness, or
         guilt; suicidal thoughts.
  • If you're depressed,
         contact your health-care provider.  Depression
         is treatable.

Following
are tips for family members, caregivers and friends whose older loved ones are
experiencing sadness during the holidays:

  • Invite them out and to
         gatherings.  Remember to take into
         account their needs, such as transportation or special diets.
  • Lend a hand by offering
         to help with shopping and preparations for get-togethers in their homes.
  • Encourage them to talk
         about their feelings.  Acknowledge
         their sadness, including a sense of loss if family or friends have died or
         moved away.
  • Suggest your loved one
         talk with a health-care provider.  Many
         older people don't realize when they're depressed. Let your loved one know
         depression is a medical illness and there's no shame in having it.

Information adapted from article by the American Geriatrics
Society in Health Day News, November 28, 2009.

If you would like more information on Older Adults May
Need Help Overcoming Holiday Blues
feel free to contact Gail Gilman-Waldner, Program Development and Coordination
– Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging®, Inc. and Professor Emeritus –
University of Minnesota at 507-389-8869 or e-mail Gail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus
information in next week’s paper.     

The Senior LinkAge Line®: A One Stop Shop for
Minnesota Seniors is a free statewide service of the Minnesota Board on Aging
and Area Agencies on Aging.  Specialists provide one-to-one assistance
with helping older adults age well and live well.  The Senior LinkAge Line®
is the federally-designated State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
for Minnesota and is the place to call for Medicare and health insurance
issues.  Call 1-800-333-2433 for
assistance Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm.

“Our Mission is to identify and promote resources which enhance, empower and enrich seniors to be healthy, safe, and engaged citzens”


 

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