While many associate the holidays with happy times, they aren’t an easy time for everyone. Older adults can be especially vulnerable to the blues during and after the holidays. If you see signs that your loved one is suffering from depression during this time, they are far from alone. According to studies done by the CDC, an estimated 7 million American adults over 65 experience depression each year. Below we cover the causes of the holiday blues and how you can help your loved one navigate their way through the holiday season.


Causes and complications of the holiday blues

Depression occurring on or around the holidays is often called “the holiday blues.” However, if symptoms persist, it is crucial to take your loved one to the doctor. Doing so will allow for depression treatment to take place quickly and allow any underlying illnesses that could be the cause of this depression to be identified.


The holiday blues in the elderly can be caused by several factors:

  • The loss of a spouse or other family members and friends.
  • The adjustment of moving into a new home/community.
  • Feeling a lack of independence is preventing them from celebrating the holidays the way they used to.
  • The inability to leave the house on their own to attend holiday events or visit friends and family.


How you can help:

  • Talk to your loved one about their feelings, and remind them that they are not alone. If they’re willing to talk, be a good listener!
  • Be sure to visit more often. If you are unable to visit in person, call or facetime and ask other family members or relatives nearby to check in with them.
  • Plan holiday activities you can do together. Help your loved one decorate, or make some holiday gifts together while sharing happy memories. 
  • Get your loved one out and about visiting friends and family, or take a drive to check out the local Christmas lights. This can help your loved one engage with the community.


If you’re feeling the holiday blues, Loretto offers resources that can help along with activities to help older adults during the holidays. Interested in learning more about our services? Contact us today!


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