1. Really listen to your senior loved one when they want to talk.
When your loved one talks, listen. Encourage them to express what they are feeling about the holidays, good or bad. If possible, just check in with them daily either by stopping by, calling or even skyping to see how they are doing and to be there for them if they need to talk. Often, seniors just want to know that someone cares about them and that they are not alone.
2. Ask them for help and advice.
Seniors often get depressed because they feel they cannot participate in holiday planning the way they used to. If you are planning a holiday celebration, let them know they are a big part of that celebration. Ask for their advice or help preparing for the event. Even something as simple as asking them for a recipe can make them feel included in the process. Most importantly, remind them how much they are loved by everyone in the family.
3. Spend quality time with them.
4. Plan a family gathering.
There is no better way to brighten someone’s mood and show them how much they are loved than by surrounding them with family. Dedicate a special night for everyone to get together for dinner, viewing a family video or even a game night. Invite friends, family and anyone else you think your loved one will enjoy seeing. Conversely, let them have a say in which family gathering they would prefer not to attend.
5. Help them with their holiday planning.
6. Help them keep to a regular schedule.
7. If they are mobile, take them out.
8. Let’s get physical!
9. Get them an iPad.
10. Consider getting a pet.
11. Arrange time for them to laugh and put on a happy face.
12. You’re never too old for a spa day.
13. Hire a home healthcare provider.
If you feel the situation is really serious, consider bringing in a professional. There are support groups for all sorts of conditions which could be extremely helpful for appropriately directing your loved one to get insight and help from those facing the same challenges. One on one talk therapy and supportive counseling can help them work through their individual underlying issues without the risks and side effects of medication. However, when medication is deemed necessary, be sure to monitor their intake since the elderly metabolize medications differently than younger adults. You might want to explore some alternative remedies for depression such as omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, SAMe or St. John’s wort. Also, be on the lookout for any warning signs of suicide. Tragically, when the elderly decide to take that step, they are much more ‘successful’ at it than their younger counterparts.
Depression in the elderly is a serious problem that is far too often overlooked. A home health aide from David York Agency can provide the compassionate and personalized care to help seniors through the challenges they face in the lonely winter months.
For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn. To find out more about hiring an aide for your loved one this winter, contact us today.