7 Tips for Moving to Memory Care

January 22, 2018

7 tips to help the move to memory care

Are you starting to search for a memory care community for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease? These tips can help make the move to memory care go more smoothly.

If you are preparing for a senior loved one’s move to a memory care community, you might not be sure how and where to start. Moving a loved one who has memory loss can create unique challenges. Knowing how to manage them can make the transition go more smoothly for everyone.

7 Tips for Managing a Senior’s Move to Memory Care

These tips can help you with everything from downsizing to planning for moving day.

1. Establish realistic goals: Our first tip is to set realistic goals for this process. Unless your loved one’s safety or health is at risk and you need to move in a hurry, try to work at a pace you feel comfortable with. It can help you feel more confident that you are making good decisions which can, in turn, help decrease anxiety for you and your senior loved one.

2. Create a floor plan: Once you have selected which community your loved one will be moving to, ask the staff for a floor plan of the apartment. Make sure it has all of the dimensions for each room listed. Then you can get to work creating a layout in which all the furniture and belongings will fit.

3. Identify “must move” items: Creating an environment that looks familiar is important when a senior has memory loss. So give some thought to those pieces of furniture and the belongings your loved one is most attached to. Perhaps it is a chair they like to sit in and watch television or a quilt they’ve had for years. Make certain those items have a place in their new home.

4. Downsizing: Some families prefer to get their senior loved one settled in a memory care community before they begin the process of downsizing. For others, selling the home first might be a financial necessity. Either way, it can be emotional to downsize and sell a loved one’s home. It often helps to begin in the rooms used less often and to sort belongings by their final destination. Label boxes with tags that say “Move,” “Donate,” “Family,” and “Trash.” As you work your way through the house, separate items into the appropriate box.

5. Get involved before the move: Depending upon what stage of the disease your loved one’s Alzheimer’s is, it might help to visit the community a few times and get involved in activities before their actual moving day. Life enrichment programs at memory care communities are designed to help older adults feel successful and independent. For people with memory loss who may be struggling, that is important. Talk with the staff at the community for advice and guidance about getting involved early.

6. Create a schedule: Once you have a move-in date established, take time to create a schedule and plan for a smooth transition. You might also want to explore moving resources, such as senior move managers and senior certified realtors. They can help you with everything from packing up the home to obtaining quotes from movers.

7. Moving day plans: Our last tip is to plan carefully for moving day. You might need to ask a trusted friend to care for your loved one on moving day while you supervise the movers. Your loved one might be able to go to the community ahead of you, have lunch, and attend an activity in lieu of being home for a chaotic day of moving. Don’t forget to put together a box of moving day essentials you want to the senior’s new apartment transport yourself.

At Legacy Senior Living, we know the search for a memory care community for a senior you love can feel overwhelming. We are happy to answer any questions you might have about moving a loved one with memory loss. Call the community nearest you to set up a time for a private visit.

6 Ways to Beat Post-Holiday Caregiver Blues

January 15, 2018

post-holiday caregiver bluesAre you suffering from a case of the post-holiday caregiver blues? These 6 tips can help you beat the blues.

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are behind us and the long winter is in front of us. Warm, sunny days can seem far away. For caregivers who may be stuck indoors a lot during colder months, it’s easy to find yourself feeling a little blue.

Experts say 15% of people struggle to stay positive during the winter months. Some even experience a more serious case of seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD.

If you are a family caregiver who is feeling a little down, this list of post-holiday caregiver blues busters may help boost your mood and lift your spirits.

 6 Blues Busters for Caregivers

1. Get out: While it might be tempting to hibernate until spring, sunshine, combined with fresh air, can be good for the soul. Bundle up, put on skid-proof boots, and head out for a quick trip around the block.

2. Nutrient-rich foods: Many of us turn to carb-heavy comfort foods during the winter, especially if we are feeling a little blue. But they can leave you feeling a little sluggish. A better choice is to fill your plate with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, fish, and lean protein. They’ll help you feel more energetic and less lethargic.

3. Limit alcohol consumption: If you are trying to boost your mood by indulging in a cocktail or glass of wine each day, know that the “booze blues” might be making the problem worse. Alcohol is a depressant when consumed in any quantity. Opt for water, tea, or juice instead.

4. Good night’s sleep: A case of the blues can lead to sleep problems. For some caregivers it might be sleeping too much, while others don’t sleep enough. Try a few natural remedies for getting a good night’s rest. If they don’t help, you might need to schedule an appointment with your physician. They will likely have other ideas for you to try.

5. Exercise: While this might not be your favorite way to spend your time, exercise is a great way to beat the blues. When you exercise, endorphins – natural mood boosters – are released in the body. Just thirty minutes of daily exercise can help improve your emotional and physical well-being.

6. Stay connected: Try to stay in touch with friends and loved ones even if the weather outside is frightful. If you aren’t able to get together in person, there are other ways to stay connected like phone calls, Skype, and Facebook.

Caregiving at Legacy Senior Living

If you are starting to explore senior living options for an older adult you love, it’s important to ask the right questions. Many of those questions relate to the experience and quality of a community’s caregivers.

We encourage you to use this list to better understand what questions to ask during your visit Legacy Senior Living and at any other community you are considering.

Healthy Resolutions for Caregivers to Start a Brand New Year

January 8, 2018

Make 2018 Healthier

Caregivers often put their own needs last. It’s why so many family caregivers experience a health crisis of their own. Use these resolutions to make 2018 healthier.

If you’ve been responsible for the care of a senior loved one, there’s a strong possibility that you’ve put your own health and well-being on the backburner. As the responsibilities of caregiving slowly increase, family members often don’t see the toll this role is taking on their own health.

From weight gain to high blood pressure and depression, caregivers experience health problems of their own at twice the rate of their non-caregiving peers. As a new year begins, we thought we would encourage family caregivers to make 2018 healthier with a few resolutions.

6 Resolutions for Caregivers to Make 2018 Healthier

1. Ask for and accept help: We put this at the top of this list because it is the one thing caregivers can do to immediately improve their well-being. Adult children are often reluctant to ask for and accept help with a parent’s care. But doing it all on your own will eventually take a toll. Resolve to make 2018 the year you give yourself permission to seek help from friends, family, and even professional caregivers.

2. Explore local respite services: One way to care for yourself is by routinely utilizing respite care services. It might be by using home care services a few hours a week, while also taking advantage of short-term stays at an assisted living community every few months. Having “me time” that you can regularly count on will help reduce stress and give you an opportunity to tend to your own health and well-being.

3. See your doctor: Another good new year’s resolution to make is to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician if you haven’t been there in the last year. The doctor can conduct a physical exam and help you schedule any routine health screenings that are due.

4. Connect with a support group: Caregivers face many challenges each day. Caregiving itself is demanding, and even more so when you juggle work and family life. Connecting with a peer group – either online or in person – can help provide you with tips and guidance, as well as emotional support.

5. Eat a healthy diet: Family caregivers often rely on a diet of convenience: frozen foods, fast foods, and takeout. While they can be a quick solution for an overscheduled caregiver, few of these choices are very healthy. Planning and freezing a few weeks’ worth of entrees on a weekend afternoon is one solution. Then you can add a fresh salad or frozen vegetable and have a healthy dinner in a hurry. Another option is to research restaurants that have healthy food choices. Also see if they offer delivery or participate in a delivery service like Uber Eats. One final suggestion is to join a meal delivery program, such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron.

6. Exercise: It’s easy to let physical fitness activities fall off your “to do” list when you are busy juggling many responsibilities. One solution is to find several forms of exercise that you and your senior loved one can enjoy together and work them in to your weekly schedule. Walking, chair yoga, swimming, and even marching in place are all ideas to consider. The National Institute on Aging also created a workout series for seniors that can be completed in the privacy of your own living room. Go4Life has free guides and tools you can download.

Aging Resources at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living, we know how important it is to connect with the support you need. It’s why we created our Aging Resources page. Here you will find links to organizations ranging from the Administration on Aging to the Alzheimer’s Association. We hope you find it useful!

Can Assisted Living Help Prevent Repeated Trips to the Emergency Room?

December 25, 2017

Frequent ER Visits

It is not uncommon for older adults to require frequent visits to the emergency room. Moving to an assisted living community can help prevent some of them.

It’s an unfortunate truth that older adults are much more likely to require trips to the emergency room than younger people. Though some of these trips are inevitable, others are preventable under the right conditions. Assisted living communities provide an environment  that may help to keep seniors from making frequent ER visits.

4 Ways Assisted Living Helps Prevent Trips to the Emergency Room

Here are a few ways an assisted living community help seniors avoid the hospital:

  1. Medication Management Support

For most people, the number of daily medications required for optimum health increases with age. Not surprisingly, this can lead to a great deal of confusion, especially when medications have different dosage amounts and are taken at differing times throughout the day.

Unfortunately, this confusion can be dangerous. Mistakes with medication is a leading reason older adults end up in the emergency room. Most assisted living communities offer medication management services that help residents stay safely on track with their medication.

  1. Living Environments Specifically Designed to Decrease Falls

Falls are the number one cause of injury among older adults in the United States and one of the most common reasons they end up in the emergency room. Additionally, falls account for a great deal of anxiety on the part of both older adults and their families.

From bathroom grab bars to walk-in showers and handrails in the walkways, assisted living communities are designed to help protect residents against dangerous falls. The result is increased peace of mind and fewer trips to the hospital.

  1. Improved Health Through Better Nutrition

Inadequate nutrition can render older adults much more susceptible to illnesses and injuries that lead to emergency room visits. Seniors who live alone and don’t eat nutritious meals can be at greater risk for repeated hospital visits, costly medical bills, and fall-related injuries.

Assisted living communities address this concern by providing thoughtfully designed, nutritious meals. These meals help to not only improve the overall well-being of assisted living residents, but to create opportunities for socializing with friends in the dining room.

  1. Assisted Living Wellness Programs

Most assisted living communities offer onsite wellness programs. These programs take a holistic approach to overall well-being. At Legacy Senior Living communities, we are committed to quality care. From fall prevention programs to our service standards, we help residents live their best life.

Contact us today to find out more about our services or to arrange an in-person tour of one of our communities.

Activities for Grandparents to Enjoy with Grandkids this Holiday Season

December 18, 2017

fun holiday activities with grandkidsGrandparents, be ready for when the grandkids visit. Here are some fun holiday activities to make your time with your grandkids fun and special.

If holiday time with your grandkids is limited, you’ll want to make the most of it and start celebrating early. Days filled with fun activities are a sure way to bond across the generations. We have some ideas for fun holiday activities to help you plan ahead.

Fun Holiday Activities for Grandparents and Grandkids to Enjoy

Try one or all of these activities with your grandkids to share some holiday cheer with the youngest generation.

  1. Build a Holiday Fairy House

Fairies continue to enchant the imaginations of young children, with many creating miniature houses and gardens for these tiny sprites to “live” in. If you’re not familiar with the trend, the idea is to build a welcoming place for fairies to visit. It’s the perfect opportunity for you and your grandchild to create something fun together.

Fairy houses are typically constructed out of materials from nature. Since it’s winter, you’ll have to think of ways to get access to suitable construction materials.

You can start with an unfinished bird house from the craft store. Sticks, wood, evergreens, and cranberries are all good choices for decorating it in a holiday theme.

In addition to natural materials, you will need double-sided tape, string, and hot glue to hold everything together. Other optional materials include acrylic paints, pine cones, and yarn. Finally, candy canes make sweet lawn decorations for your magical fairy house.

  1. Introduce Traditional Holiday Activities

If you aren’t very crafty, it’s not a problem. Sometimes the simplest activities make for the best times with your grandkids. How about making and sipping homemade hot chocolate together and then settling down to cut out some paper snowflakes?

Prepare by purchasing cocoa, festive mugs, whipped cream, and marshmallows. If you live in an assisted living community, ask the dining staff for help.

You’ll also want to have paper along with child-friendly scissors on hand. You can add pizazz to your snowflakes by using a variety of pretty papers. And don’t forget to practice beforehand if you’re rusty. These pointers for making paper snowflakes can help.

  1. Give the Birds a Holiday Treat

If you and your grandchild enjoy nature, plan an activity focused on caring for the birds. Assemble suet, birdseed, red ribbons, and string. Suet can be hung with a red bow, while birdseed can fill feeders that you adorn with a bow.

If you live in an assisted living community, consider creating a birdseed bell or wreath with a red ribbon. That way, you can hang it right outside your window. Future visits from your grandchild can include checking on the progress the birds have made on the bell.

  1. Give the Gift of Time

While kids love crafting, they treasure time spent with you no matter what you’re doing. When you take the time to listen to their stories or relate some of your own, you’re connecting in ways that boost their confidence and help them thrive.

Small children also love having holiday stories read to them. You can buy a holiday-themed book and give it as a gift, but you can also read it together. Other ideas include writing a holiday poem and looking at old family pictures. Kids love seeing pictures of their parents when they were kids, so if you have any, it’s time to bring them out.

We’re All Family at Legacy Senior Living

The holidays are rich with opportunities that all generations can enjoy together. And it’s one of the most festive times of year to visit a Legacy Senior Living community. Call us today to set up a time!

Holiday Gift Ideas for an Adult Who Lives in a Senior Living Community

December 11, 2017

Christmas gift ideasFinding the right gift for an older adult who lives in a senior living community can be challenging. Here are some gift ideas to help you this holiday season.

Older Americans are typically at a stage in life where they aren’t too keen on accumulating more “stuff.” Many older adults are downsizing and scaling back. If your loved one lives in a senior living community, space may also be limited.

So, what can families do when the holidays roll around and it’s gift-giving season?

What you need are a few good gift ideas for creating that special gift for your loved one. And we have some you might find interesting.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Older Adults

Consider these gift ideas for a senior loved one this holiday season:

  1. A Bit of Nostalgia: Top Music Picks for Your Loved One

Everyone loves music from when they were younger. So why not assemble a list of their favorites and create a personalized playlist or song collection for your loved one? Find out what was popular when they were in high school or ask relatives of the same age if they have any ideas.

Music can be therapeutic, after all, which is another reason it makes a great gift.

  1. Something Practical: Gift Cards

Gift cards come in endless varieties these days, covering almost every hobby or need. A fun idea might be to purchase a wallet or purse and fill it with gift cards.

Think about what the senior’s favorite indulgences are. Do they love books? Shoe shopping? Lunch at a local restaurant? Manicures? Buy gift cards that match their interests.

  1. Something Heartwarming: Family Keepsakes

Family memories become even more precious with time, which is why it’s important to preserve them however you can. Creating a special photo album or family calendar for your senior loved one can be a treasured holiday gift. Websites like Shutterfly offer endless options for you to customize photo products.

The great thing is that this is a gift that keeps on giving. It also provides the gift of spending time together as you reminisce and share a few laughs.

For families whose senior loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, photo albums can help reconnect them with positive feelings and memories.

  1. Something to Look Forward to: a Special Calendar

If you live near your senior loved one, you can give them a year’s worth of planned get-togethers as a gift. Buy a pretty calendar and schedule monthly or weekly activities you can do together. Feel free to get as creative as you like, with ice cream dates, morning tea on Thursdays, yoga, or a home-cooked meal every Sunday.

The Team at Legacy Senior Living

As the holidays approach, the team at Legacy Senior Living is here for you in every way. Whether it’s providing you with holiday gift ideas or answering your senior living questions, we are happy to help. Call us to schedule a tour of a community near you!

Managing Diabetes during Holiday Party Season

December 4, 2017

Managing diabetesThe holidays are a festive time, but the focus on food can make it hard to eat right. Here’s a quick guide to enjoying holiday parties while making good food choices.

The holidays are a wonderful season to celebrate and enjoy time with friends and loved ones. But the focus on food at parties and family gatherings can make it tough to stick to a healthy lifestyle. The festivities are even tougher on the millions of Americans who live with diabetes.

When temptations abound, it’s more important than ever to manage your diabetes in a smart, well-planned way.

A Simple Guide for Managing Your Diabetes at Holiday Parties

Here are some tips that may help to get you through the holiday celebrations while safely managing your diabetes.

  1. Know the Best Holiday Foods to Eat

When it comes to the holiday buffet, healthy eating can be a matter of making the right choices. Start by eating veggies. They’ll take the edge off your appetite so you’ll be less likely to overindulge on the not-so-healthy stuff.

It’s also wise to plan your meal so that your overall carb intake isn’t too high. For example, if you can’t wait to savor the pumpkin pie cousin Grace always makes, skip the potatoes and bread.

It’s not always necessary to skip dessert, but you do have to make smart choices. For example, choosing pumpkin pie over pecan pie means you’ll be cutting calories and sugar by a third or more.

  1. Know Which Holiday Foods to Avoid

Let’s face it: holiday foods aren’t exactly synonymous with a healthy diet. Lots of sweets and rich food seem to go hand in hand with the celebrations. You can still enjoy your favorites by limiting portion size and making substitutions. However, there are some you should outright avoid.

Alcohol is a prime example. It may cause your blood sugar to swing dramatically. Plus, it is often loaded with calories. According to WebMD, one drink counts as two fat exchanges, so keep that in mind when you reach for the holiday grog.

Here are a few other interesting facts about alcohol and diabetes:

  • Alcohol stimulates your appetite. When you drink, your willpower and judgment may become weakened, which can lead you to make bad food choices.
  • Sweet wine and beer contain carbs, which can impact your blood sugar.
  • Alcohol can interfere with medications or insulin, putting you at risk for problems with your diabetes.

 

If you’re unsure of whether or not you should be drinking alcohol, talk to your doctor. They may tell you to avoid it altogether, or they might advise you on how much your limit should be.

  1. Treat Your Body Well

Holiday plans can disrupt your daily routine. Whether you’re attending parties or simply spending time shopping and visiting with friends, there’s a good chance you’re going out more.

Sometimes that means getting less sleep, which isn’t good for an adult with diabetes. Did you know sleep deprivation may cause you to eat more? And it can also cause you to crave food that is bad for you, like high-sugar, high-fat foods. Precisely the kind of food you’re apt to find at the holiday table. Try to get eight hours of sleep every night during the holiday season.

Getting adequate amounts of exercise also can help. Don’t let your packed schedule push exercise off your weekly calendar. It not only helps work off extra calories—it can also help reduce stress.

Lastly, stay on track with your medication schedule and continue to monitor your glucose.

  1. Remember What the Season is About

Finally, try to remember what’s truly important about the season. Holiday parties are for seeing friends and family and enjoying one another’s company. When you focus on that, you’re less likely to obsess about food and drink.

Live Well at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living, we’re committed to resident wellness. We know that spending time with loved ones is important for a senior’s mental and physical health. It’s why you’ll find an abundance of holiday events and activities for residents and their families to participate in all season long.

Call the Legacy community nearest you to ask for a copy of our holiday activities calendar, and make plans to celebrate the season by joining us for any event that looks enticing!

Celebrating the Holidays with a Senior in Assisted Living

November 27, 2017

How to celebrate the holidays. Two children and a senior woman make Christmas crafts

Is your senior loved one living in an assisted living community? Here’s how to celebrate the holidays in style, so they feel included and have a great time.

With the holiday season in full swing, your thoughts may be turning to loved ones and all the celebrations ahead of you.  If your family includes a senior who lives in an assisted living community, here are some meaningful ways to celebrate.

Having a senior in assisted living allows you two great options for celebrating: you can host your own gathering there or invite the family to attend festivities organized by the community.

Celebration #1: Have a Family Party at the Community

‘Tis the season for family parties, and one of the best places for holding yours could be at the senior living community where your loved one resides. Your senior loved one will enjoy having a chance to show off their family.

A surefire way to make the party more festive is to decorate for the season. This can be easily accomplished with a trip to the dollar store. Grab a cart and fill it up with holiday tableware, decorations, and everything that’s appropriate for your gathering. The idea is to transform the space into a winter wonderland or a holiday extravaganza.

Don’t forget music, presents, and a way to get everyone singing carols. For a special treat, consider hiring a piano player or DJ who can lead the group in singing holiday songs. If that isn’t possible, even a CD player with holiday CDs will do.

Be sure to call early to book the space for your get-together. You’ll want to coordinate everything with the team at the community. Ask about catering possibilities because the community’s dining services department may be able to help.

Celebration #2: Attend Some Holiday Events at Their Community

It’s natural for friends to exchange stories and to show interest in one another’s family members. Residents in senior living celebrate their ups and downs together, including those of their family members.

So when community events are open to families, it’s a great opportunity for everyone to meet. If you’ve met your mom’s (or dad’s) friends before, it’s a chance to catch up and have a good time together.

But the person having the best time will probably be your loved one. Feeling special and enjoying a party with all their friends and family in one place is the best celebration of all.

Holiday Events at Legacy Senior Living Communities

At Legacy Senior Living communities, we place a high value on family interaction. From inviting family members to meals to including everyone in our numerous, year-round community celebrations, we know the larger the social network, the happier everyone is.

Want to learn more?

You’re invited to visit, too. Stop by a Legacy Senior Living community near you any time for a tour.

An Alzheimer’s Update: The Latest Research about the Disease

November 20, 2017

Alzheimer's Month bannerScientists have been busy discovering more about the brain and how to diagnose Alzheimer’s. Here’s a roundup of the latest findings published in 2017.

Earlier this spring, Congress announced it would increase funding for Alzheimer’s research in its new budget. Experts applauded the decision, stating it was necessary to remain on track for achieving goals set by the Alzheimer’s Association, including combating the disease by 2025.

November is National Alzheimer’s Month. So it’s a good time to look at how research has progressed in being able to diagnose Alzheimer’s. While we know it’s too soon to determine if they’ll reach the 2025 goal, some findings do look promising.

Alzheimer’s Update

A lot has been happening in the field of Alzheimer’s research. Here are the highlights of the past year.

  1. A New Way to Diagnose Alzheimer’s

For years, one of the basic challenges with Alzheimer’s has been that there is no specific test that confirms the disease. People are diagnosed based on a number of different observations and tests.

These include cognitive tests that evaluate factors like memory, problem-solving, and language skills. Lab tests can rule out other conditions, while brain scans can identify strokes and tumors that can sometimes cause dementia.

This fall, however, researchers announced that a new diagnosis method may have been discovered. It might provide an additional method of improving the accuracy of the diagnosis and helping doctors tailor treatments to individuals. A blood test that uses a diamond to identify certain chemicals in the blood, this new screening option leaves many scientists feeling hopeful.

  1. Brain Waves May Help Beat Alzheimer’s

Neuroscientists at MIT have discovered that brain waves may have a lot to do with controlling Alzheimer’s. In mice, it seems that a certain type of light therapy has beneficial effects on their condition.

People with Alzheimer’s have a buildup of harmful proteins in their brains. These are called beta-amyloid plaques. One key to combating the disease is clearing them out or, in earlier stages, preventing them from building up.

It turns out that gamma waves, a normal firing of neurons in the brain, may trigger a “cleaning out” of the beta-amyloid plaques. But if the gamma waves in someone’s brain aren’t operating properly, those plaques don’t get cleaned out. Scientists have long noted that people with brain disorders often have disrupted gamma waves.

By exposing mice with Alzheimer’s to a carefully calibrated set of flashing lights, the MIT group was able to restore gamma waves. That, in turn, led to a two-thirds reduction in beta-amyloid plaques.

Researchers warn, however, that people should not try their own light therapy at home. These are only preliminary findings and they have not been tested on humans. Caregivers should stick to known therapies for dementia, like the virtual caregiver application, SimpleC.

  1. Personality Changes as Signs of Dementia? No Evidence Yet

People often characterize personality changes as one of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s. Now, that’s being questioned. A comprehensive study at Florida State University examined personality and clinical assessments of more than 2,000 individuals.

Results of the 26-year study were published this past September in JAMA Psychiatry. Surprisingly, the researchers found no evidence to support the notion that personality changes are a harbinger of dementia.

Keeping You Informed

Here at Legacy Senior Living, it’s our job to stay on top of current research about Alzheimer’s. That’s how we keep our programs up-to-date. For example, our Purposeful Day therapy program is based on a compilation of years of Alzheimer’s research. We see every day how it helps improve quality of life for our memory care residents.

If you’d like to learn more about The Purposeful day or SimpleC, please call or visit us any time. We’d love to help answer your questions!

Holiday Blues: How You Can Help an Older Loved One Prevent Depression During the Festive Season

November 13, 2017

It is not uncommon for seniors to experience depression during the winter holidays. You can help prevent “the holiday blues” by taking a few simple steps.

The winter holiday season should be a time of joy and celebration for everyone in your family, including your senior loved ones. Unfortunately, many seniors struggle with depression or the ‘holiday blues’ this time of year.

There are many reasons that seniors lapse into sadness—illness, injury, frustration with the aging process or loss of a spouse—but what really matters is that you find ways to prevent depression from happening.

The Signs of the Holiday Blues

Knowing the signs of the holiday blues is critical to helping seniors overcome their seasonal sadness. If you get involved early, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of making a difference.

Here’s what to watch for when spending time with your older loved one:

  • Sadness or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or other formerly pleasurable activities
  • Feelings of uselessness or helplessness
  • Feelings of isolation or loneliness
  • Lack of appetite or sudden weight loss
  • Preoccupation with death and dying

While this list gives you a good place to start, it’s important to watch for subtler signs as well. Many seniors aren’t willing to open up about experiencing sadness so take note of any unusual behaviors even if they don’t admit they’re feeling down.

Preventing the Senior Holiday Blues

Here are four effective ways to keep the holiday blues at bay:

  1. Give Freely of Your Time

Nothing is more important than being present for your older loved ones during the holidays. Spending time together can prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are closely associated with the holiday blues. The only caveat is that you give it eagerly, not as though it were a chore.

  1. Listen, No Matter What

Everyone needs to be listened to, especially seniors who are experiencing depression. When you listen closely to someone’s concerns, it’s much easier to empathize and take their problems seriously. This simple acknowledgment of their feelings will go a long way toward alleviating their pain.

  1. Include Your Senior Loved Ones in Your Holiday Activities

A painful feeling of separateness marks most holiday sadness and inclusion is one of the best ways to counter it. Invite your older loved one to participate in shopping, wrapping presents, and decorating the house to remind them that they’re still an important part of the family. Inclusion can also mean asking them for advice and letting them have a say in family holiday decisions.

  1. Help Them Participate in Outdoor Activities

Inactivity and a lack of sunlight can make a senior’s holiday blues even worse so getting them outside can be a big part of the solution. This is especially true if your senior loved one is experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Activity could include anything they are interested in, but it should involve at least a small amount of mild to moderate exercise.

More Helpful Resources from Legacy Senior Living

A bout of the holiday blues is something seniors experience all too frequently, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. As you can see, there are many things you and your family can do to prevent depression.

Remember that we’re here to help. The Legacy Senior Living blog offers a constant stream of useful information every week. We hope you return to visit often, especially in times of confusion or doubt.

Contact us if you’d like more information or to schedule an in-person tour of one of our communities. We hope the holidays bring you and your family a season of good cheer!