Help Elders Beat Post-Holiday Blues

The excited squeals of the grandkids. The uproarious laughter over classic family stories. The unending toffee, sweet breads and Christmas cake. The holidays are over. Sigh. As the year-end activities fade, the blaring silence of no family and friends around creates its own unsettling noise for many older adults. After Christmas and New Year’s, the letdown of the holidays hits a low note for many elders, leaving them feeling lonely, depressed and just not up for socializing.

So what can you do to boost your aging loved one’s spirit after the holidays? Here are 5 tips to help an elder beat the post-holiday blues.

  1. Stay connected. Be intentional about engaging in regular phone calls, personal visits, outings and social networking with your older loved one. Maybe plan a January soup and games night or a time together to look at photos from the holidays. Or get out to see a theatre performance or movie. And simply laugh together.
  1. Help identify what your elder can control. With an aging body, paying off Christmas bills and worrying about the future, many older adults start 2018 feeling their life is unmanageable. Encourage your elder to choose one lifestyle change to focus upon in the next 30 days. Maybe it’s eating more vegetables or drinking more water. Or, talking with an financial planner or investment representative. Setting small, measureable goals is more effective than feeling down over a lengthy list of unreasonable New Year’s resolutions.
  1. Recommend a personal health inventory. Did that tooth crack eating holiday peanut brittle? What about the extra weight from the extras consumed over the holidays? January is an ideal time for your elder to make appointments for an annual physical or a visit to the dentist, optometrist or audiologist. With less sunlight in winter, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and lower vitamin D levels can also play a role in your elder feeling emotionally sluggish.
  1. Join a class or community project together. Maybe yoga would stretch you all in a positive way? Or how about volunteering at the local animal shelter or the reading-to-kids program at the library? Interacting with others is beneficial in producing natural mood lifters in the body including serotonin, endorphins and dopamine. Finding a cause isn’t just for the younger generations. Serving others and contributing to society is a way for older adults to give back and keep moving forward.
  1. Plan a trip or fun adventure. Getting out of the house and sometimes out of town entirely can energize your elder with a fresh perspective. Invite your aging loved one to give their social calendar a facelift. Maybe your elder has a list of travel destinations to visit or hobbies to enjoy. Or, perhaps checking out a new eatery in town or an art gallery or museum in the area will make your elder’s top list. Even helping your elder research and make affordable travel arrangements can bring a lift to the days and weeks ahead.

So long holiday toffee and fudge. Hello time to paint the post-holiday blues into a corner and choose from a whole palette of promising opportunities for 2018.

What suggestions can you share for helping an elder beat the post-holiday letdown?