Dealing with the Holiday Blues

Dealing with the Holiday Blues?
Seniors are Vulnerable to Seasonal Depression

According to health experts, the phrase “Happy Holidays” isn’t the case for everyone. The American Geriatrics Society reports that this time of year can be especially hard for seniors.

Nearly two-thirds of those who responded to one National Women’s Health Resource Center survey said they have suffered from depression during the holidays. Clinical depression in the elderly is common to begin with, impacting older people differently than younger people. In the elderly depression often occurs with other medical illnesses or disabilities and lasts longer.

The holidays serve as a reminder of how lonely a senior may be, the friends or family who have passed on, the lack of family get-togethers and/or the simple ability just to be around familiar faces.

Along with loneliness, these are some other sources of sadness:

  • poor health or chronic health problems
  • unrealistic expectations
  • reduced daylight in the winter
  • financial stress

“We’re especially watchful as we approach the holiday season,” said Diane Mondini, president of Caring Companions At Home based in Newport Beach. “Our caregivers are on the lookout for any warning signs of seasonal depression.”

Some of the most common symptoms of elderly depression include difficulty sleeping or restlessness, fatigue, weight loss, weight gain, or just a change of appetite.

Mondini stressed that there is nothing wrong with not feeling “merry” during the holidays.  “Often, just talking about your feelings with someone may be the best medicine,” said Mondini.