Older Adults and Holiday Depression: Top 5 Warning Signs

Woman looking sadWhile the hustle and bustle of the holiday season may leave most of us exhausted, for elderly people living alone the holidays can be a time of loneliness. Many older adults are separated from their loved ones and or may be living in a home where their long established neighbors have moved away.

We often think of depression as just someone appearing sad. But there are more warning signs than that to be aware of in our seniors. So what are the signs you should be on the lookout for this holiday season? Your friends at Fall River Jewish Home suggest you watch for:

·        An older adult in your church or synagogue who faithfully attends services and always volunteers in the office begins not showing up or not as frequently. Withdrawing from activities they've always enjoyed can be a sign of depression.

·        Is your favorite aunt who usually won't leave the house without matching shoes and purse looking a little disheveled? Neglecting personal care and appearance is often a clue that someone isn't happy.

·        Is your typically jolly neighbor suddenly irritable and easily angered? That can also be a signal that something is wrong.

·        Is your normally active grandparent complaining about many new aches and pains? That may be an indicator that they are feeling isolated and alone.

·        Gaining or losing weight can also be a sign of depression. If the older adult in your life is experiencing either of these without trying, you may want to schedule a visit with their primary care physician.

There are several great online resources that offer tips for beating the holiday blues. Hebrew Senior Life is one. You can find them here: http://www.hebrewseniorlife.org/hsl-resources-avoid-holiday-blues. Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital has also put together some ideas you may find useful. They are at: http://m.agingcare.com/Articles/dealing-with-holiday-depression-108018.htm.

What do you do to help manage the holidays and the holiday blues?

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