How to Help a Senior You Love Avoid the Holiday Blues

How to Help a Senior You Love Avoid the Holiday Blues

  • November 13, 2018

It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us. While many older adults enjoy the hustle and bustle of the season, others feeling lonely and left behind. Those who live in colder climates where they are stuck indoors most days may feel especially blue.

Experts say mixing the holiday season and winter weather can be a tough for those who have mobility issues or are hesitant to get out on cold, snowy days. In fact, research shows that 15% of people have a difficult time beating the blues during the winter months. Some develop a more serious case of the blues known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

If a senior in your life experienced the holiday blues in past years, here are a few steps you can share with them to prevent the blues from returning.

6 Holiday and Winter Blues Busters for Older Adults

  1. Spend time outdoors: When the winter winds blow it can be tempting to stay indoors until spring returns. However, sunshine and fresh air are good for the mind, body, and spirit. Encourage your loved one to put on a heavy coat and some sturdy, skid-proof boots and go for a walk. If they aren’t able to do that, even sitting outside on the porch for 5 or 10 minutes can be refreshing.
  2. Avoid alcohol: The “booze blues” can make you feel even worse. That’s because alcohol is a depressant. You’ll feel better and stay hydrated if you stick with water, tea, and juice and encourage your family elder to do the same.
  3. Skip the carbs: It’s common to crave comfort foods when you are feeling down. Unfortunately, they can make you feel even more sluggish. Eating a healthy diet comprised of fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and lean protein will give you more energy. 
  4. Get moving: Finding the motivation to exercise when you are feeling down isn’t easy, but it’s one of the best ways to beat the blues any time of year. Physical activity releases endorphins which are the body’s natural mood boosters. Schedule time for you and your senior loved one to exercise together a few times each week. Chair yoga, walking, or swimming at the local YMCA is beneficial for your body and spirit.
  5. Sleep well: It isn’t uncommon for people who have a case of the blues to sleep too much or too little. Encourage your senior family member to stick with a consistent bedtime schedule that includes 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. If insomnia or other sleep disturbances persist, the senior should talk with their primary care physician for advice.
  6. Stay in touch: When the weather outside is frightful, people tend to socialize less. That doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected. Phone calls, FaceTime chats, Skype, and even social media can help everyone stay in touch. Try to check in ---even if it is just by phone---with your senior loved one a few times a day if they are stuck inside alone.

Enjoy at Respite Stay at Five Star Senior Living

If your senior loved one has a tough time navigating the winter months, a short-term respite stay might be the solution. They can be our guest for a month or so when winter is at its worst. From delicious meals and wellness programs to a variety of life enrichment activities, respite guests enjoy the same benefits as long-term residents.

Call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you to learn more! 

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