Many of us have lost loved ones this year, or many over the past few years. Though the holiday season is supposed to be a time of happiness, joy and celebration, it just may not feel that way for many. In fact, for many of our seniors, it's truly a struggle to stay positive or happy during this time. Many face depression during the holidays, and express thoughts of feeling isolated or left out. If they recently lost a spouse or family member, the holidays may be a harsh reminder of their newfound loneliness and sadness. They may also find themselves financially overwhelmed, as buying presents and extra food can be a struggle on a limited budget. Memories of past holidays may be comforting, but also cause immense sadness.
Even though the holidays may be overwhelmingly tough, here are some ways to stay positive and cheerful:
Reminisce, but with a Positive Spin
It can be easy to stroll down memory lane with your senior loved one, but try to steer them toward happy memories and thoughts. Try not to dwell on what has been lost, but rather focusing on the good that has come since. Take out old pictures, play some old songs, and enjoy each other's company. Create a new scrapbook full of favorite memories.
Create a Budget
It's pretty common to feel like the holidays require more money. Everyone is buying gifts, and it's easy to forget the true meaning of the holidays. It should be about togetherness, family, and creating new memories, not gifts. Set a budget and stick to it. Don't be afraid to tell friends and family you are scaling back this year.
Remember Holiday Traditions
Sometimes we just need something to get into the holiday spirit, such as old traditions. Perhaps it's watching those cheesy holiday movies on Netflix, or decorating the Christmas tree. Bake a pie or start blasting Christmas carols throughout the house. Invite family members over to help you decorate, or plan a holiday party.
Make a Connection List
Instead of making a never-ending list of gifts to buy, try making a list of friends and family you must see or connect with this holiday season. Life is short, and you never know how much time you may have left to see an aging grandparent or family member. Get out your calendar and reach out to those who matter most. Schedule lunch or dinner, or invite them over for game night. Feeling connected to those we love is an excellent way to increase our joyfulness during this time of year.
This season, take care of yourself and your loved ones, as the holiday blues can be very real. Seek professional help if you notice your loved one showing signs of withdrawal, depression, or any other changes in behavior. If you need to travel during the holidays and are concerned about leaving your loved one alone, reach out to our Kind Companions for a free consultation. We are happy to help.