The holidays can be a time of joy, sweet memories, favorite traditions, and togetherness—but as most as most of us know, the holidays can also magnify our feelings of loss or loneliness and leave us feeling blue. Seniors who have lost a spouse, experienced a debilitating illness, had family move away, or struggled with other difficulties can be especially vulnerable to the bluest of Christmases.
In addition, seasonal depression (that type of depression related to changes in seasons) often slinks in for people right around daylight saving time. Sunset just comes too soon it seems, the temperature dips, and mornings can feel more dreary. For those affected by seasonal depression, decreased light intake can leave a person feeling drained physically and emotionally. They might feel sad or moody. Symptoms often start in the fall and continue into the winter months.
This kind of physical and emotional heaviness brought on by seasonal depression, coupled with the bittersweet memories of holidays of yesterday, can feel altogether overwhelming for the people experiencing them. They may withdraw, tempted to isolate themselves out of exhaustion and in attempt to avoid painful feelings of loss or loneliness.
When you add icy sidewalks, snowy driveways, and biting winds—it’s often easier and safer to just stay home rather than make attempts to socialize. But we know that socialization plays an absolutely crucial role in our physical and mental health.
That’s why our mission to create joyful and vibrant communities is especially vital during the wintertime. Our communities are all about providing meaningful support for seniors in a myriad of ways. Something as small as a warm hello and caring hug can buoy residents’ spirits. Nursing staff on-site cares for each resident’s unique needs and can help watch for signs of depression and guide residents toward specific types of care if needed. And special events with great food, music, and of course, children, help our residents stay in tune with the present moment, enjoy life today, and encourages them to socialize and strengthen relationships with their neighbors.
We know that it can be hard for seniors and their families to keep in close contact during the holidays—and also just how important it is for those ties to remain strong. LifeLoop, an interactive website designed to connect families, makes sure loved ones are just a click away. Residents and their loved ones can send and receive messages and photos so they can stay in touch easily. Some communities have video chat available so that residents can see and hear their loved ones and have a real conversation, even if they might be cities apart. Studies show that hearing a loved ones voice rather than just reading their words can lower stress levels and increase oxytocin, a “feel good” hormone the body releases to help us form and keep positive relationships. So next time you’re considering writing, texting, or calling, you might choose to hear your loved ones voice and let them hear yours. It’s good for both of you.
Another simple, powerful way Fieldstone Communities fosters socialization is through fantastic dining options. Enjoying delicious, fresh food is a great motivation for all of us. It gives us something to look forward to, offers opportunities for sharing a table and conversation, and literally sustains our bodies with dietician-approved meals that are as tasty as they are nourishing. All without the hassle of grocery shopping, cooking, or cleanup.
As we near the holidays, if you or a loved one is struggling with the isolation and inconvenience that winter can bring and considering a move to senior living, we invite to come tour a community near you, so you can see for yourself how living at Fieldstone cares for a whole person—their social, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It would be a joy and an honor to welcome you or your loved one home to Fieldstone this season.
Each of our communities is hosting special events during the holidays, from crafting and sing-a-longs to all out feasts. We hope you will come and join in the positivity, holiday spirit, and real sense of togetherness. Your presence is so important.
To learn more about types of senior living including independent and assisted living and memory care, click here.
Wishing you a very merry holiday season!