Senior Care in Wake County NC
Mental illness is something that can impact anyone at any time, but if you are on a senior care journey with your aging loved ones, it can carry even more meaning. Depression impacts more than half of the elderly population, and for many it goes completely unnoticed. Caregivers may think that their loved ones are just dealing with the normal process of aging, or may not notice that there are serious issues at play that can have a lasting impact on their ongoing health and well-being. By recognizing this risk and finding ways to reduce the risk of developing the problem or easing it if it does, you can make supporting your parents’ overall health throughout their aging years a primary focus of your senior care efforts.
While depression is something that happens at any time of the year, it can be particularly prevalent during the holiday season. In fact, more people report feelings of depression, isolation, and anxiety during the holidays than at any other time during the year. Unfortunately, this is also the time when it is the most difficult to recognize the signs of depression, making it harder for you as a caregiver to make the meaningful changes necessary to ease the effects and improve your parents’ wellbeing. This also makes it even more critical during this time to pay attention to your loved ones and how they are doing so that you can detect signs of depression and do what you can to resolve them.
Holiday depression can be caused or worsened by a wide variety of factors, including:
• Less light. Lower light conditions, especially lower natural light from the shortened period of sunlight during the day and the tendency for people to stay inside during the fall and winter seasons, can contribute to SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, in which the body experiences physical, mental, and emotional symptoms of depression due to lower vitamin D and other related influences.
• Isolation. Staying inside more due to the colder temperatures and because caregivers, friends, and neighbors are so busy with their other holiday season tasks that they are unable to be with seniors as often as they usually are can lead to seniors experiencing increased feelings of isolation, irrelevance, and loneliness.
• Memories. The holiday season is a time for loved ones to enjoy spending time together and participating in traditions that they have loved for generations. While this can be a wonderful time filled with happy thoughts and warm memories, it can also be a time when difficult memories and emotions arise, particularly for a senior coping with the loss of a partner, children, friends, siblings, and other loved ones.
• Reduced participation. Because holiday events occur only once a year they are a strong indicator of a person’s changing functionality. This means that the holiday events that your parents have always enjoyed participating in, or their favorite contributions, may not be possible any longer due to their new or worsened condition. This can make them feel like they are not as involved in the family and remind them of their mortality.
Some ways that you and your parents’ senior health care services provider can help your parents cope with their holiday season depression include:
• Make the time to visit with them regularly so that they do not feel alone
• Include them in events such as shopping for or wrapping gifts, attending pageants, or even just going to see Christmas lights
• Ask friends and neighbors to stop by periodically to give them more social interaction
• Make sure that they are getting as much exposure to light as possible, including regular time outdoors
• Spend time with them reminiscing about their painful memories and helping them work through their emotions so that they do not become overwhelming
• Find plenty of ways that they can participate in the holiday celebrations that still take into consideration their physical, mobility, medical, or cognitive challenges and limitations.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Wake County, NC or the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at HomeChoice Home Care Services. Call today (919) 847-5622