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Seniors and a Difficult Holiday Season: 5 Ways to Stay Cheerful

By Michelle Cemental

The holiday season is a time of celebration and happiness. For many seniors, however, it can be difficult to stay positive and happy during this time. To help seniors combat the isolation, lack of activity, and depression that might occur during the holidays, it's important to stay educated and proactive. Below is a guide to what you need to know about seniors and the difficulties of the holiday season, as well as ways to stay upbeat and positive so the holidays can be a more happy, joyous time.

Difficulties Seniors Can Face During the Holiday Season

Seniors may find the holiday season less than joyous for a variety of reasons, but here are a few to consider:

  • Limited mobility: Many seniors cannot move around as they once did, especially with physical limitations. This can make the holiday season less exciting for seniors, with the inability to shop, visit, and celebrate like others limiting the joy of the season.

  • Loneliness and depression: Depression, anxiety, and isolation are common among seniors, but the holiday season can make these feelings more severe. Whether it's a lack of social interaction, missing family and friends, or remembering what once was, the holidays can make some seniors feel more lonely than any other time of year.

  • Memories of the past: Many seniors have a hard time accepting that their current life is not like it was in the past. And around the holidays, memories of the past can be especially painful.

  • Financial burden: The holidays can get expensive. Between presents, food, and everything else, it can take a toll on our wallets. For seniors on a tight budget, the holidays can remind them of their financial stress and limitations.

  • Home life: For some seniors, the holiday season is difficult because many no longer live with family or at home. For seniors living in a nursing home or assisted living facilities, they may feel a lack of comfort and tradition that comes with the holiday season.

Ideas for Staying Positive During the Holidays

1. Reminisce in a Positive Way

Memories of holidays past can drum up bad feelings during the holiday season for many seniors. But memories are often some of the best things in our life. Instead of dwelling on things that are now different, focus on all the good that has happened. Use the past to reminisce about your favorite things and people. Take out old pictures, sing old songs, and remind yourself what the holidays are all about.

The holidays are the ideal time to remember traditions and friends that have come through your life, reflect on things that have changed, and appreciate things that haven't. Try using the holiday season to create a new photo album or scrapbook full of your favorite memories. 

2. Take Control of Finances

While it is common to feel like you need to spend a lot of money during the holiday season, that is a feeling that must be forgotten. The true meaning of the holidays is love and togetherness, and those who truly love you would expect nothing more. Before you become over-stressed about the financial burden of the holidays, get ahead of the game by creating a budget and plan before the season hits.

Give yourself a realistic budget and stick to it. Create lists and stay organized when it comes to shopping and purchasing presents for the holidays. Working through the holidays with a budget in mind will help you not only stress less about money, but also refrain from overspending what you don't have.

3. Get in the Spirit with Holiday Traditions

Sometimes all you need is a little cheer to get in the spirit of the holidays. If you're feeling the blues, try reminding yourself about the greater parts of the holiday season, like the food, decorations, and entertainment. Bake cookies and pies, watch your favorite holiday movies, make crafts, and hum along to your favorite holiday tunes. All of these things help remind us of our favorite holiday memories and traditions, putting us in the right frame of mind to celebrate and enjoy the coming holiday.

Try enlisting the help of family members or friends to help you decorate, make homemade presents, or take you to go see lights in the neighborhood. Sometimes, participating in holiday activities can help not only get you in the spirit, but also become a time to connect with the people you love and make memories.

4. Be Honest and Talk It Out

It can be hard to admit when you have feelings of loneliness, depression, or are simply not feeling celebratory this holiday season. This can be especially true when seniors may see the people they love enjoying the holiday season themselves. But the people around you care about you and are there to support you.

That being said, it is important to seek help and be honest when you need it. Seniors are more likely to suffer from depression, but less likely to seek help for it. Talk about your feelings of isolation or loneliness with family, friends, caregivers, or even a licensed professional. All of these people not only provide emotional support but also help you find solutions to the issues you are currently facing. The holiday season is no time to feel alone.

5. Connect with Those Who Matter Most

During the holidays, family, friends, and the people we love are typically the top-priority. It is a time to appreciate the people in our lives. For seniors having a difficult time, connecting with the people you love can be of tremendous help. Providing love and support, your friends and family can help get you through difficult holidays. Call the people you love often or ask them to call you. Technology is a great way to stay connected with loved ones who don't live nearby. 

For those who are not able to see in person, set up a day and time of the week that works for both parties to speak on the phone. Visit family often and let the people in your life know how important those visitations are to you. Find social activities around you to participate in with friends or other seniors. There may be other people having a difficult time as well during this season and will be seeking solace in each other.  

This season, take care and fight the holiday blues by heeding the advice given. By taking care of our senior loved ones, the holidays can be a time of celebration, love, and hope for everyone. Contact our trusted professionals today to find out more about caring for seniors during the holiday season.

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Michelle Cemental Blog Author

Tags: Holidays

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