• Holiday Depression Tips: Listen and Support

    December 11, 2019 | Blog
  • This holiday season ask your loved one more than how they feel physically and identify feelings of depression early.


    The holiday season is usually filled with a whirlwind of shopping, special events and family traditions. For many of us living close to our families, we are able to keep a watchful eye on aging or ill family members on a regular if not daily basis. For others who may live far away from family, the holidays may be the first time in several months that family members are reunited. At Paradigm Health we encourage you to take the time to not only celebrate holiday family traditions with loved ones but to spend quality time visiting and assessing how your aging parent or family member is doing both physically and emotionally. 

    The physical signs of aging are often noticed more quickly and are a visible indication of a change in what is normal for that particular person. Beyond paying close attention to any physical signs, staying alert to signs that something is changing for your loved one on an emotional basis is sometimes harder to uncover. The added stress of the holidays may be contributing even more than usual to their overall emotional well-being. 

    Depression is not a normal part of aging,” shares Paradigm Health’s licensed clinical social worker Kathy Molloy. Warning signs of depression can include feelings of hopelessness, sadness, changes in weight, changes in sleep pattern, loss of interest in socializing or hobbies, loss of self-worth and feelings of being a burden, slowed movement or speech, and neglecting personal care. 

    Even your family member may realize that something feels “off” to them as well but are at a loss as to where to turn or what resources might be available to them. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation and commit to being present in the moment as a compassionate listener. Creating a sense of respect and connectivity can result in a more honest and supportive environment.  

    Discussion often will uncover some of the root feelings and causes of depression. Many of them can be a direct result of the aging process for all of us. “As we age, we often face several losses including loss of role/job, independence, mobility, and loss of someone we love including family members, spouse or partner, and pets,” says Molloy. Medical conditions and medications can impact mood. It is always a good idea to have an annual wellness exam that focuses on memory, mood, mobility, and review of medications. 

    During the holiday season, be mindful of any changes going on you may see or feel. Resources are available to assist with home health care, hospice and palliative care and emotional support as well. Often, depression may stem from a feeling of isolation and lack of social interaction. Invite your loved one out or assist in providing or scheduling regular activities for them. “Finding the resources to help your loved one stay physically and socially active, maintain a healthy diet, and see professional help when necessary is the best gift you can give this holiday season.”  

    Need help in locating and identifying resources that may assist in keeping your loved one emotionally and physically healthy? Visit myparadigmhealth.com to find out how Paradigm Health can be a support system during your home health, hospice or palliative care journey.