Successful Aging Resources
5 Tips for Helping a Senior Avoid the Holiday Blues
November 17, 2015
The holidays can be a tough time of year for older adults. Some live alone after having lost a spouse. Others have chronic health conditions that limit how much they can participate in the festivities of the season. It’s easy to understand why the holiday blues are more common among our older loved ones.
If the Indiana senior you love typically seems a little down during the holidays, there are a few steps you can take now to prevent the blues this year.
Preventing the Holiday Blues
First, try to place less emphasis on the holidays and more on spending time together. A few ideas you and your Indiana senior can use to prevent or beat the blues include:
- Utilize video chat: Loneliness during the holiday season can contribute to feeling blue. But adult children with busy schedules might struggle to find time to visit an aging parent more frequently during the holiday rush. Take advantage of video chat services like Skype to talk “face-to-face” when you can’t be there in person. It might be while you are preparing dinner or waiting for the kids to finish soccer practice. It only takes a few minutes to check in and that can go a long way toward making your senior feel connected.
- Practice good nutrition: It isn’t uncommon for an Indiana senior who lives alone to skimp on good nutrition. Healthy foods are more expensive and often take more time to prepare. Add to that the cravings most of us get for sugary treats and carb-heavy comfort foods when we are feeling down. Try to help your senior family member plan healthy meals and snacks to get them through the holiday season. If you think poor nutrition is an on-going struggle, explore the senior nutrition and meals on wheels programs near them. Most operate on a sliding scale fee based on income.
- Make time for exercise: The endorphins released by exercising are one of the very best methods for naturally treating the blues and depression. Walking together can be a good way to start. You could also try Tai Chi or Chair Yoga either at a local fitness center or buy purchasing DVDs to use at home.
- Volunteering to improve health: Time and again researchers have found the health benefits an older adult receives from volunteering their time can be life-changing. Senior volunteers have lower incidences of chronic health conditions and depression. Serve Indiana and Volunteer Match are two Indiana organizations that can help your aging loved one connect with a volunteer opportunity that will be of interest.
- Have a good laugh. Laughter really is good medicine. Take time this holiday season just to enjoy your senior loved one’s company and share a few laughs. It might be at the local comedy club or a night out at the movies. Humor and laughter lift the spirits.
The Five Star Senior Living communities across the Hoosier state are pleased to partner with nationally known Chef Brad Miller. This holiday season, he has created several recipes for our Indiana senior friends to enjoy. Call the community nearest you to request a complimentary copy of “A Five Star Thanksgiving: Turkey & Stuffing Recipes by Chef Brad Miller.”