The holidays can be an emotionally challenging time for many people, but depression is very common this time of year in the elderly. Whether you have elderly parents, grandparents, or know someone who is elderly from work or just casually, these tips might help them get through the chaotic season on a better note. In order to help them you might be asking what are some signs to look for and how you can assist? A few tips can steer you in the right direction.
According to Reshmi Saranga, a geriatric psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry, offers these tips via a press release:
- Grief. It’s likely that older people in particular have experienced the loss of a loved one at some point. Additionally, the natural aging process brings many losses such as health and sometimes independence. Often times, the holidays bring up memories that can trigger depression.
You can help by simply reaching out and communicating with your elderly loved one. Your compassion and company can help eliminate their feelings of loneliness.Encourage conversation and talk about happy memories that will brighten their mood.
- Isolation. One major sign of depression during the holidays is isolation. Feelings of loss and loneliness, especially in the elderly, can cause them to socially withdraw. You might notice a loss of interest in activities and events that they once enjoyed.
You can help encouraging them to socialize. Make plans to do something with them even if it’s just to watch a movie or have a cup of coffee together. Support their interests and help combat isolation by doing things they once loved.
- Irritability. Elders often reserve their worst behavior for those they are closest to, like family members. The aging process is not easy and it could cause frustration and resentment for those already living with pain and grief. Furthermore, irritability can be an earl sign of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.
You can help an elderly loved one by focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative.Offer your support and try to figure out the cause of their irritability and anger to see if there are other ways you can help.
In the press release, Dr. Saranga says if you are a caregiver of an elderly loved one who shows these signs of depression beyond the holidays, it might be time to get professional help. Psychotherapy and medication can make a huge difference in relieving depression
It never hurts to try and help someone who very well may be suffering from depression especially during the holiday season. Remember, this is the time of year for giving rather than receiving. If you know someone who might be suffering depression or needs an extra hand go ahead and offer your assistance. You will be glad you did!