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Helping a Senior Loved One Overcome Depression during the Holidays

By Rick Cohen, 8:00 am on

The holiday season is recognized as a time of merriment for many families. However, symptoms of depression are surprisingly common among senior adults during this time of year. For some seniors the holidays can be a painful reminder of a lost loved one, and others may struggle with financial constraints and recent health problems that may limit their independence. While the underlying reasons for senior depression during the holidays may vary, Milwaukee Home Care Assistance presents several time-tested ways to help an aging loved one overcome their feelings of sadness while taking part in seasonal festivities.

Acknowledge Their Feelings

It is easy for a senior’s depression to go unrecognized as their families get caught up in the excitement of planning for holiday events. Be alert for warning signs of depression such as a lack of interest in their favorite activities. Seniors with depression may also experience a loss of appetite, frequent mood swings and fatigue. If these symptoms are noticed, it is important to talk to the senior and acknowledge that some sadness this time of year can be normal. However, severe symptoms of depression may warrant a visit to the senior adult’s physician to seek a treatment plan.

Maintain a Normal Routine

Seniors with depression will benefit from sticking to their regular eating and sleeping schedule. When planning holiday events, strive to ensure that the timing will enable the senior to enjoy their meals close to their normal time. If the senior will be spending long periods of time away from their home, prepare a quiet place for them to rest if they become overwhelmed by all of the activity. Families who may be vacationing or busy with holiday preparations can also arrange for a professional Milwaukee hourly caregiver to drop by the senior’s home to help make sure they are able to follow their routine.

Encourage Their Contributions

After years of hosting holiday events, some seniors may feel unimportant now that younger members of the family are taking over the responsibilities. Show senior loved ones that they are a cherished member of the group by finding ways for them to contribute. Reading a favorite holiday story to the children, playing the piano during a sing-a-long or compiling a cookbook of traditional recipes are all fun ways for a senior to play an active role that will have them looking forward to the next seasonal event.

If you need help juggling the care of an aging loved one with this year’s holiday responsibilities, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Milwaukee today. Our highly trained, experienced and compassionate caregivers are available for both hourly and live-in care and can help with daily activities and personal care, provide companionship and ensure safety and comfort. For more information about in-home care, call 414-964-8000 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager.