The holiday season is full of merriment and cheer, yet can become the saddest and loneliest time of the year for some. Senior citizens are often the demographic most affected by the seasonal loneliness and depression.
These feelings are exacerbated by nostalgic memories of lost loved ones, and distance from family members. This can cause health problems (high blood pressure, low immune health, obesity and depression), and affect their quality of life. According to Forbes, persistent loneliness can have the same health risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! So what are signs to look for, and what can we do?
Seniors often do not recognize the health problems caused by loneliness. As a result, few will voice their need for additional support. AARP believes that Americans between the ages of 57 and 85 only have support from an average of 3.6 people! So how can we keep an eye out for those we love?
The following are a few signs of seasonal loneliness and depression among seniors:
- Under or over sleeping
- Socially withdrawing
- Lack of appetite
- Anxiety of visitors leaving
- Decreased attention to self care
With 17% of Americans over 65 living alone, this is a huge concern.
We now know what to look for, but what do we do? Some ideas to increase holiday cheer are:
- Display holiday cards
- Help set up holiday decorations
- Assist in using technology to connect with loved ones
- Encourage seasonal volunteering if able
- Sign seniors up for in-house visits by carolers and volunteer groups
- Deliver meals and holiday sweets
- Offer to help assist with holiday shopping
We all get so busy this time of year, but this holiday season, take time to think of those who need a little extra love and support. Let’s combat holiday loneliness by being aware of the signs and being willing to help. At Kare In Home, we love our senior patients and want to assure they are fulfilled. This holiday season, let’s all do our part!
Your Kare In Home Team