The holiday season is all about happiness, fun activities, festivity, and togetherness. However, studies have shown that psychopathology increases during the holiday season, especially in elderly adults. Advanced-aged seniors with physical limitations and mental health issues often feel lonely and isolated during the holidays.
Seniors struggling to feel positive and cheerful during the holidays often tend to skip family gatherings and functions, increasing their isolation. This separation from others can lead to depression, which may become difficult to control and handle.
Let's talk more about why seniors feel lonely during the holidays and how we can include them more during these special occasions.
Reasons Why Seniors Feel Loneliness During the Holiday Season
Senior citizens and elderly adults might not find the holiday season to be joyful for different reasons, and some of the most common causes are:
- Nostalgia: The memories of the past can create a lot of nostalgia for older adults as time can change many things. This becomes even more prevalent during the holiday season.
- Limited Physical Mobility: Elderly seniors have restricted or limited physical mobility. As a result, they cannot go shopping for gifts, dine, or visit friends and family as they used to during the holidays. This can cause a feeling of depression and loneliness.
- Missing Home Life: Many elderly seniors live away from home at a facility or respite care for the elderly. Seniors living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes miss the comfort of their homes and the various traditions associated with the holiday season. Even with the best senior care, seniors miss home life, making the holidays a little difficult. Home care facilities can be the best option to prevent this situation from happening.
- Financial Pressure: Holidays can be expensive as we can spend a lot on food, gifts, and decorations. Many seniors are tight on a budget with limited income sources. During the holiday season, they get more stressed because of their financial limitations. They prefer retreating from celebrations and festivities and choose to be alone and isolated.
- Increased Depression: Older people often suffer from isolation, anxiety, and depression. During the holiday season, these tend to aggravate to such an extent that it affects their physical health. Older adults miss family, friends, and social interactions, making things worse.
Difficulties Seniors Can Face During the Holiday Season
The common issues faced by seniors are loneliness – especially when their spouse, relatives, and close friends have passed away, they retired, and/or children and grandchildren do not live close by --. Immobility also often affects seniors and causes a significant negative impact on their lives, and ultimately, they become housebound, which affects their mental health and causes several difficulties and age-related issues.
Let's learn about some of the common aging problems and how to address them for healthy aging:
- Isolation and Loneliness: According to a study, loneliness and isolation are responsible for triggering severe issues affecting many senior adults in the US. Social isolation is linked with an increased risk of dementia by 50%. Isolation can be managed by giving ample time to your seniors, but this might be impossible due to hectic daily schedules. In this case, you can hire a home caregiver to support your elderly loved ones at every step.
- Falls: Falls are common in older adults due to a combination of underlying risk factors. A study mentioned that 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries yearly. Body strength or balance deficiency is a common problem that can be addressed by checking health status and medication dosage.
- Others: Pain, memory concerns, depression, urinary incontinence, and polypharmacy are other aging problems that prevent older adults from participating in the holiday fun.
Tips to Keep Seniors Positive During the Holiday Season
There are ways to manage seniors' isolation and loneliness during the holiday season. With little care and affection, elderly adults and seniors can enjoy the holidays like everyone else.
Below are some ways to help the seniors in remaining positive and happy during this season of joy:
- Listening and Understanding: If you want to help seniors during the holiday season, you need to understand the situation of the seniors with compassion and care. Elders might be hesitant to open up, but you have to work towards gaining their confidence. Listen to them when they talk to you and make them feel secure and safe.
- Revive Family Traditions: Many experts strongly believe that reviving family traditions during the holiday season is an excellent way of honoring the past. This brings back many sweet memories for the elderly seniors. Families follow various practices during this time; it can be watching a movie, going out for dinner, planning a party, etc. You might be surprised to see that the elderly members are happy to participate in these activities.
- Include Them in the Event and Meal Planning: The holiday season is the time for joyful events and delicious meals. Make sure that you include the family's seniors in the discussions and planning about the events and the dinners. Ask them if they would like to eat something in particular or help you cook the holiday dinner if they can. Elders feel cared for when they are involved in conversations and planning, making them happy and excited for the holiday season.
- Reminisce Positively: For many seniors, memories of the holiday season might make them sad. Instead of focusing on such memories, try helping them remember the happy ones and remain in the present. Reminisce about the good things, happy events, and lovable people in their life. Try singing old songs and looking at old photos to help them remember the happy times they spent in past holidays.
The holiday season is the best time to bond with your family and create new memories, and these ideas are sure to create amazing memories for you and your senior loved one!
Offer Your Senior Adults the Best Elderly Care with Newport Home Care!
Now that we’ve discussed reasons why senior adults feel lonely and isolated during the holiday season, you can help to cheer them up. Companionship care services are one of the ways in which you can assist your seniors during the holidays. At Newport Home Care, we offer companionship care services and respite care for the elderly. Along with regular maintenance, our professionals also provide holiday special senior care services. Contact us today if you are looking for senior companion care services near you.