The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…. or a Blue Christmas?

The Holiday Season should be a time for celebrations, parties, and get-togethers. Sometimes the holidays can also be a source of sadness and “the blues”, especially for older people, who may find themselves thinking about how quickly time has passed and missing loved ones. Health conditions or concerns about money can also make it harder to enjoy this time. So what steps can you take to avoid a Blue Christmas?

Change is hard

During the holidays, our thoughts often wander to childhood memories and time spent with family and friends. Sadness can set in as we remember loved ones and special friends who have moved or passed away.

Change is also hard as people transition out of the homes where they spent decades of their lives, to new living arrangements that meet their growing care needs. Sometimes this means moving in with family, but other times they are not able to follow their families because of physical limitations or difficult financial situations. During the holidays feelings of isolation and loneliness can replace cherished family activities and traditions.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Betty and John raised five kids and Christmas was always their favorite holiday. Sadly, John passed away several months ago, and Betty now lives in an assisted living community. She has adjusted to senior living and is quite happy. She’s very close to her children and sees them often, yet she finds herself feeling sad and blue. Betty misses hosting her large family, setting the table with her mother’s China, and baking dozens of cookies for neighbors and friends.

It is important to note that it’s common to feel nostalgic, and normal for people to feel sad when they think about the past and the good times they shared with others. Though these emotions may be difficult at times to experience and address, we must acknowledge the feelings and accept they’re natural. However, if these feelings last more than a few weeks or months, it may be depression, which should be treated.

Combating Loneliness Over the Holidays

Whether or not you can be physically together with your aging loved ones over the holidays, try to help combat sadness and loneliness by lifting their spirits. Here are some tips:

  • Show them they are loved
  • Encourage participation in festivities to the level they feel comfortable
  • Keep them connected through cards, photographs – even drawings
  • If they live in a long-term care facility, check to see what holiday activities are offered
  • Check into social and/or spiritual support through your loved one’s religious organization
  • Make their living space festive by adding decorations and other seasonal touches
  • Spend time cooking or baking treats with your loved one

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and impact your health. Being realistic, advanced planning, and seeking support can help ward off these feelings.

Our experienced team at Hurley Elder Care Law can help your family through times of transition. Our comprehensive elder law services and large network of resources can be beneficial as care needs and situations change for older adults. Call us today at 404-843-0121 to discuss your needs.

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