Holiday Depression in the Elderly

Holidays should be spent surrounded by family and loved ones. For many seniors, this isn’t the case. Many often find themselves spending this time alone for various reasons. This in turn affects their mental and physical well-being. How can you prevent your loved one from going through this? Here are 3 ways to combat seasonal depression in the elderly.


Encourage New Norms

We can all agree that traditions have changed since the pandemic. If you can go see your loved one, make the effort. Bring a puzzle, board games or some cards. Recipes are also a great way to bond. If you can’t make it, there’s always Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc. You can have the recipe items delivered to them and mutually follow the recipe while video chatting. Make it a family affair and invite other members to join, as the saying goes, the more the merrier!


Actively Listen To Them

If a conversation doesn’t interest us, it’s only natural to brush things off and not be as engaged. Make it a point to really listen when your loved one talks, even if the discussion is negative. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal or judgment and always maintain eye contact. An honest and empathetic conversation will help them process what’s bothering them. Whether it’s mourning a loss or coming to terms with new life challenges. This may also reveal why they are feeling down and inspire other ways of lifting their spirits.



Reliving old memories is priceless as it brings warmth and togetherness. The perfect way to do this is by going through photo albums. If there are pictures that bring up tears or grief, that’s OK, too. People try to avoid sad memories, thinking they will upset their loved one, but it’s a healthy way to release normal feelings.

There’s no denying that celebrating holidays with an older family member can be emotional and maybe even stressful. Hopefully, these tips help you and your family navigate this time of year with a little more grace and joy. The key is to provide a safe and loving space for your older loved one to enjoy the holidays in their own way.


If you’d like to learn more or are considering a nursing home or assisted living for a loved one in northern NJ, The Little Nursing Home of Montclair offers a cozy and calm atmosphere with the comforts of home. Call or email us for more info to schedule a tour.

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