While the holidays are considered a joyous time for most people, the fact is that many of us feel sadness or depressed during the Christmas season. This is often especially true for seniors, who may be dealing with the loss of loved ones or friends or facing health conditions of their own. If you or an older family member is feeling depressed this year, the good news is that it is treatable. Here are some steps to take.
Be Aware of the Signs of Depression
By knowing what constitutes depression, you will more easily be able to seek help. In addition to feelings of sadness, you or your loved one may experience difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, loss of interest in normal activities, or feelings of hopelessness, irritability, or even anger.
Connect with Support Systems
Even if you don’t feel like socializing, connecting with family members and friends can help lift the fog of holiday depression. Make plans with loved ones or participate in activities with church groups or other organizations you’re involved with. Seeing friendly faces can make a world of difference.
Help with Tasks
If your family member lives independently but is no longer able to easily decorate, bake, shop, or do other rituals that signify the holiday season, he or she may feel depressed. Help alleviate these feelings by pitching in on these tasks. This is not only a great use of family time but can help him or her feel more festive and less isolated.
Seek Professional Help
Sometimes, feeling sad is more than just the blues–it’s clinical depression. If you think you or a family member may be clinically depressed, talk with your doctor. He or she can prescribe medications or recommend talk therapy to help you feel more like your old self again.