Holiday Depression and the Elderly

The holiday season often brings joy, but for the elderly it's also a time when they may experience the "holiday blues".

On top of this, the winter season is often difficult for seniors who feel isolated or don't have family close by.

The holiday season isn't over yet as the new year approaches, but it's still a time period when...

"People can get lonely"

And seniors often feel it.

"It's a loss of control of their normal ability to control their environment, so I think that makes a big difference," said Kelly Shipley from the
Central Wyoming Counseling Center.

According to seniors can feel lonely during the holidays.

That's because they often have few remaining relatives or their family is far away.

Shipley says that leads to changes in behaviors because of holiday traditions they're used to doing with family.

"So the expectations of what their holidays have been like are not the same."

And while some seniors experience the "holiday blues", Shipley says there's often a misconception about seniors and depression.

She says others think depression comes along with aging.

"And it's not, but there are environmental factors that can change your...the way that you think about things."

And for assisted living facility staffs, they often keep their residents' minds occupied.

"Everybody is pretty happy and lively, so it's pretty fun here for them," said Stephanie Allen from Mountain Plaza Assisted Living.

And other simple gestures can lift their spirits.

"Maybe a smile or something for somebody else can make a big difference."

Staying in contact with loved ones also helps ease their loneliness.

Many Casper retirement and nursing homes offer many activities to ease residents’ minds.