For most seniors, the holidays can be a joyful time. There are religious services and cultural events, the grandchildren or great-grandchildren’s school holiday performances, and parties with friends and family to attend. Also family and friends stop by to visit mom and dad in their home. But what happens once the holidays are over and the cold weeks of January come to stay? For many seniors, the winter blues can set in.
The winter months can be hard on mom and dad. All the excitement and socialization of the holidays are over. Winter’s cold, snowy and/or icy weather can prevent dad from getting out and about. Or, a recent surgery or worsening chronic condition can mean mom can no longer leave her home. Or, the holidays may have brought up memories of past holidays with departed loved ones, causing feelings of sadness or grief to linger.
These situations can result in your loved ones becoming overwhelmed by feelings of depression and loneliness.
If you find that mom or dad are suffering from depression after the holidays, here are some steps you can take to help them break the grip of the winter blues.
1. Encourage dad to do something different. When your dad feels sad or isolated, he may not feel motivated to do anything – even activities he normally loves to do. Explain to him that not doing anything can contribute to his depression. Encourage him to try a different approach. Ask him what he might like to do – even simple activities like listening to music, watching a movie on TV, chatting with friends on the phone or exploring social media sites like Facebook can help. Also, check to see if his medication could be causing his depression. Talk to his doctor about what other medications could help.
2. Get mom out of the house. Since we’re social creatures by nature, look for activities that will get your mom out and about, like going to religious services, shopping or visiting with friends, spending time at the community center, or attending talks or concerts. To take her mind off of her own problems, see if mom would like to volunteer for a charitable organization. If you’re not able to drive mom, look into transportation assistance from community or religious organizations.
3. Look for at-home ideas and resources if dad can’t get out of the house. If dad has chronic health conditions that keep him at home, have him host a get-together with his friends at his house to play cards, watch movies on TV or just chat. Enlist the help of Keeping in Touch Solutions. Our employees will call dad every day to check up on him and provide some uplifting conversation. We’ll even email you to let you know how he’s doing. Contact us to learn more about our services.
4. Seek help. If mom’s depression lasts longer than a few weeks, have her see a doctor, counselor or other mental health professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Just remember, you can’t expect mom or dad to get over the winter blues on their own, so you need to take action to help.