Holiday events are centered around bright decorations, cheery tunes and joyful greetings. So, how can family caregivers or their aging parents sink into a case of the winter blues?
Although the holidays are focused around gatherings of friends and families, the many traditions can be centered on the past — when families were young, houses were full of guests and gifts, and the caregiver or senior was in the midst of the chaos.
Along with special memories of past holidays, today’s holiday preparations may remind us of:
1. Our losses of loved ones and friends.
2. The luster of treasured memories from “back then” may outshine the reality of dull feelings of “today”.
3. Coping with daily health issues and limitations.
Some ideas to combat the winter blues include:
1. Attending a free civic concert or services at a neighborhood church.
2. Volunteering at a local food bank or toy drive.
3. Limiting the number of social obligations in order to control stress and combat fatigue.
4. Joining a social group such as a church group, library group or crafting club in order to combat social isolation.
5. Seeking out exercise opportunities such as a window-shopping stroll through the local mall or a nature walk to gather colorful berries, seeds and evergreen branches for seasonal decorations.
6. Limiting alcohol consumption, which serves as a sedative and contributes to depression.
Taking time to choose an activity or event that matches of the abilities of the family caregiver or aging parent is key to the success of the activity. Also, choosing the best time of day and making certain that medications and comfort items are provided — while remaining flexible — will contribute to the enjoyment for all.