With the holidays just around the corner, many of us are consumed during the holiday season.
From music and decorations to shopping galore — much of our extra energy is dedicated
to pulling together fantastic holiday celebrations for our loved ones. However,
not everyone has an easy time with the holiday season.

 

How can your caregivers help clients who may be suffering from depression?

 

Caregiver Training Advisor, Victoria Brown has the answer!

 

 

Victoria says . . .

Communication is crucial. Encourage caregivers to talk to seniors about their feelings as the holidays approach. If they report feelings of sadness there are steps caregivers can take immediately.

 

Here are 5 easy tips caregivers can try to ease the winter blues for the seniors they serve:

 

1. Increase sunlight exposure.

Aim for more sitting time in front of a window. Or, take short walks if weather allows. According the the World Health Organization, “5 to 15 minutes of casual sun exposure of hands, face and arms two to three times a week during the summer months is sufficient to keep your vitamin D levels high.” A little bit of effort can make a big difference in sunlight exposure. Bundle up and catch some rays!

 

2. Create a pen pal or Christmas card program for

your clients to exchange letters or cards with each other.

Many elderly clients have seen their friends and family members move or pass away. Their holiday plans and traditions may have been devastated by the loss of loved ones. During the holiday season, use your built-in patient network to give clients other people to feel a connection to. They may find solace in communicating with someone in their same life stage. Of course, maintain confidentiality by using their first names only.

 

3. Encourage or facilitate video chats with family members.

We may be accustomed to the marvels of technology, but many seniors have yet to experience the ease of connecting to anyone, anywhere in the world. Ask your clients if there are any loved ones they would like to see and make it happen! Grandchildren, nieces, nephews, siblings- when was the last time you saw the face of these people in your life? Educate your caregivers on FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, and Skype to begin.

 

4. Ask them about their holiday traditions.

What songs and movies do they enjoy during the holiday season? Which foods do they look forward to most? Make sure each client gets to experience at least one of their favorites. The digital versions of their songs and movies should be easy to find on YouTube or Amazon. As for food items, use your social media network to request ingredients to make their holiday treat dreams come true. A local grocery store may be happy to partner with you on this as well.

 

5. Exercise!

As a solution to so many problems, we shouldn’t be surprised to see great depression fighting benefits from exercise. According to Harvard Health, “the real value is in low-intensity exercise sustained over time. That kind of activity spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes you feel better.” Keep it safe and simple! Arm and leg lifts, light weight training, resistance bands or even repetitive standing up exercises can fill this need.

 

Bonus tip!

Don’t force holiday cheer on those who aren’t interested. Sometimes the holidays are tied to sad memories and can be unnecessarily upsetting for some. Some people never enjoyed them and definitely won’t start later in life. It is important you address this with caregivers. If the initial holiday conversation shows no interest in any celebrating, make sure your caregivers respect the wishes of their clients.
Now for the elephant in the room- clinical depression. What if they’re dealing with more than just the holiday blues? Make sure your caregiver staff is intheknow about depression!

 

Training is the KEY!

Our E-Learning library contains several topics to help your caregivers
understand, respond to, and report on signs of depression in seniors.

Schedule an interactive demo with me today and find
out how easy it is to keep your team intheknow!

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