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Dealing with Holiday Depression

Every year, the holiday season can bring plenty of big emotions. There is the magic of family traditions, the extra time spent with loved ones and the opportunity to count our blessings with wonderful meals and delicious seasonal treats. However, with the good feelings often associated with the holiday season, there can also be a great deal of holiday anxiety. With all the holiday parties, the food preparation, the gifting, the family visits – all these activities can be fun but can also bring on the holiday blues.

For seniors living in a senior living community, like Anthology of Overland Park, the holidays can bring additional opportunities for festive outings, delicious meals and family time. With the holiday season just around the corner, it is helpful to know how to spot the holiday blues, how to avoid holiday anxiety and how to prioritize mental health during the holidays. 

Holiday Depression

There is no doubt that the holidays can be stressful. For many people, holiday anxiety is triggered by busy schedules, financial burdens and the pressure to feel “holiday joy.” It is common for people to put high expectations on their holiday plans, and it can be a letdown when the actual event does not measure up. And, especially for older adults, the stress of the holidays can be enhanced by remembering loved ones who have passed away.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from some form of depression. And many seniors who do not suffer from diagnosed depression experience the holiday blues. For example, the holiday season may make seniors more aware of the passing of parents, siblings or friends who have died, of changes in their financial situation and of changes in their overall health

Many senior communities, like Anthology of Wildwood, have hands-on care teams who work with residents each day and who can take note of changes in mood or disposition. However, it can also be helpful for family members or friends to take note if a loved one begins to exhibit signs of depression during the holidays. Some signs of holiday depression to watch for include:
Withdrawal from social activities
Slowed thinking
Persistent sadness
Lack of energy
Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
Changes in sleep patterns
Frequent tearfulness
Excessive worry
Weight changes
Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
Difficulty concentrating

Holidays for Seniors

There is no reason to wait for holiday depression to hit before taking action. The holidays for seniors can look different than they did in other seasons of life, but there are many approaches that can help prevent or minimize feeling the holiday blues. Here are some things to try:

Stay on a regular schedule. Rest is crucial, especially during the busy holiday season. Maintaining wake times, sleep times, mealtimes and time for exercise is important! At Anthology of Simsbury, residents can set their own schedule, making it easy to create a daily routine that keeps everyone healthy and happy, while supporting holiday mental health.

Choose which holiday plans to attend, and stick to the decision. There is no need to do everything – select events and activities that bring joy. Your social well-being will be best served by surrounding yourself with the people you love in environments where you feel most relaxed.

Get regular exercise. Staying active is important for seniors all year round, but during the holidays it takes on more importance. Depression in seniors is more common for seniors who do not live an active lifestyle. During the holidays, many seniors opt out of their usual routine because of social events or bad weather. At Anthology of Wheaton, residents can choose their exercise schedule, allowing them to stay in their best possible mental and physical shape all year long.

If alcohol is consumed, drink responsibly.

Avoid overeating. There are many treats, foods and drinks to enjoy during the holiday season. However, take it slow, and pick and choose the right times to indulge. Making smart food choices is key to a healthy and happy season!

About Anthology Senior Living

All of Anthology Senior Living’s assisted living communities provide warm, dynamic care in a supportive, engaging environment. The team at Anthology manages everything to allow our assisted living residents to enjoy each day to its fullest. At Anthology of Clayton View and all our communities, we provide housekeeping services, linen services, laundry and groundskeeping. Additionally, our highly certified care managers work closely with doctors and specialists, utilizing smart technology, to coordinate all resident care.

Interested in finding an Anthology Senior Living community near you? Visit our community finder to learn about all our locations!