Combating Post-Holiday Loneliness and Depression in Older Adults

For most, the holidays are a time filled with holiday parties with family and friends, shopping, cooking, eating, religious events and services, laughter and memories to carry in our hearts that last a lifetime. Once all of the celebrations are over and decorations are put away for yet another year and families leave getting back to their everyday life, our older adults often experience post-holiday loneliness and depression.

Signs of post-holiday loneliness and depression can include but are not limited to your loved one being irritable, appearing more anxious, or not as talkative as they once were. They may not return phone calls, keep the house clean, loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed, find it hard to stay asleep, and may have lost their appetite. 

It’s crucial for families to formulate a plan to help older adults transition post-holidays. Older adults who live alone are most at risk of feeling seclusion and sadness when the holidays are over, and families leave. All older adults are prone to a case of the blues as they look to the approaching year while looking back on years past.

To help combat post-holiday depression and loneliness below are a few helpful tips to try with your loved one or client:

  • Plan for the next get-together. Set a date for the next family get-together. It could be something as simple as a coffee or lunch date or even a post-new year resolution check-in getting family and friends together for a potluck to discuss their New Year’s resolutions and how they are doing so far in the new year. Set a date for the 3rd or 4th week in January; not to close or far away from the end of the holidays.
  • Write letters or use technology to stay connected with your loved ones if you live out of town. Set a day of the week to reach out and touch base with your loved one. Coffee and a call on Sunday morning can mean the world.
  • Get connected in the community with local senior centers or volunteer programs. Getting your loved one out of the house will do wonders for their mood. 
  • Partner with CareBuilders at Home in providing a companion for your loved one. A companion can spark up reminiscent conversations with your loved ones about holidays past and creating new traditions for themselves, play games, due crafts and puzzles and even get them involved in exercise programs. Our companions can even take your loved one on outings such as looking at Christmas lights, church activities or other volunteer-based community activities.

From all of us at CareBuilders at Home in Omaha, NE we wish you a very HAPPY and Healthy New Year!!