Their Families: How Can Nurses, Caseworkers, Support Planners/workers and Caregivers Help

Holiday Tips for Seniors, Disabled and their Families: How can nurses, Caseworkers, Social Worker, Support Worker/planners and Care givers help…..

Helping someone with special need individual, seniors and or disabled cope with Holiday Blues… WE DARE TO CARE!!!

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The holiday seasons aren’t always jolly, especially for senior, disabled and or individual with special needs battling health conditions and or loss. Here are some ways to help……

Mckenzie Ida, the 72year-old mother of six and grandmother of eight from Maryland. Ida starts planning for the holidays in October, deciding which of four trees and more than a thousand antique ornaments will be put on display that year. She plans her Family Christmas dinner menu while shopping for Thanksgiving. She sends out christmas cards , treats and gifts in the first week of December to her children, grand children, children-in laws, girlfriends, boyfriends and siblings. This year, she’s having a hard time getting in the spirit. Ida is having early onset dementia and arthritis is crippling her fingers and her aching joints. it has dramatically limited her physical mobility, and her mind wanders. “I keep thinking about my husband and how much I missed him,” she says. “The three grandkids who were born after he died turn 15,12, 10 next year. They never knew him.To make matters worse, Ida leaves alone in her three bedroom home.

An Increase in Sadness

Ida may be feeling sad, but she isn’t alone. According to recent studies, some two million individuals suffer from some form of depression. While there’s no evidence that the holidays bring an increase in clinical depression, experts say the season can be especially hard on seniors , the disabled and the individual with special needs who are trying to cope with physical and emotional change in their lives . The holidays are a time of celebrations, tradition and the gathering of family and friends for many people. For some seniors, diasbled and or individual with special needs, this can be a time that reminds them of losses, poor health, depenence on others, the loss of loved ones, the loss of a home, the loss of good
health. The decorations in homes, families traveling, carols in stores, the platters of cookies and baked goods passed at every gathering. All of this represent the joy of the Holiday season from Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New Year. It can trigger memories of
people and things gone by. That can lead to holiday depression.

How can we help
It can be difficult for many seniors, disabled and or individual with special needs to communicate about their holiday blues. They may feel that they don’t want to dampen the mood for others, or they may not want to admit that they feel depressed during what should be a happy time. You can help by getting your elderly relatives, clients or friend to talk about
it. It’s medicinal to the body, mind and soul to share some of the thoughts on their mind. she says. Help as much as you can, volunter some of your time to help with some of the task that these individual are unable to perform and acknowledge them . Acknowledging that might allow them to feel okay about sharing some of the thoughts on their mind, which could make them feel better.

Actively listen and reflect
Listening to someone talk can help them process their feelings, and it creates a sense of connection. Take the time to listen to clients, friends and or your patient/client. They may need to reminisce about their childhood or past holiday traditions. Some of these individuals won’t acknowledge sadness, but if you listen, you’ll hear them complain more about physical ailments or express a lack of interest in social activities. Take their physical complaints seriously, but keep in mind that the holiday blues may be a contributing factor. The complaints can be your cue to gently encourage your client/patient/ friend or loved one to talk about how they’re feeling.

Offer specific help.
Maybe, Ida can no bake those christmas treats, write out on those Christmas cards. she can no longer remember all the steps to make her classic pies . Or maybe that young man in the wheelchair can’t climb the ladder to put up his favorite childhood ornaments . But with your help, these traditions can continue. The chages in our health and or environment often requires traditions to be altered and new traditions to be created. A little Creativity goes a long way.

Exercise is a great prescription for holiday blues, so offer to take your favorite senior, client out for a fresh air.
You are scheduled to visit your patients for 60minutes, take him or her out for a 10minute stroll. A Low-impact 10-minute walks in the sunshine can have a positive impact on
mood

Lastly . it’s important to realize that while the holiday blues may be difficult, it is temporary. If someone you know is seriously depressed for more than two weeks, get help. Ups and downs in mood are expected. Depression becomes a problem if the symptoms — low mood, low energy,tearfulness, disrupted sleep, change in eating habits last for more than two weeks. Then it’s time to seek out a psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health counselor who can recommend a course of treatment.

Happy Holidays From All of us at ALLEGIS HEALTHCARE, Inc….where care comes first every life, every moment, every day.