As a care giver or family member of a depressed older person, make it your responsibility to get involved. The elder person generally denies any problems or may fear being mentally ill, which can make it that much harder to know if the elder person is having any issues. You can help the elder person feel the magic of the season and feel loved by including them in general activities such as:
- Making holiday cookies – Including distributing them to neighbors, family and friends.
- Church Activities – If you or the elderly person is a church goer, churches are filled with holiday activities that need volunteers.
- Shopping – Holiday shopping can be time consuming, but it’s always nice to have a companion.
- Vacation – Make it simple or complicated, visit family or even stay in town and see the sites as if you’ve never been.
- Decorating – Decorating a house can be time consuming, pulling out all the boxes and going through everything. Get the kids involved, make a day of it.
- Gift Wrapping – It seems like this never ends and it is an easy task.
If an elderly person’s depression is linked to a passed loved one, the holiday season can make things particularly painful but discussing and reminiscing about the departed may result in sharing feelings that many have and need to let out. After the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria had maids set out Prince Albert’s clothing for the remainder of her life. Many of us absorb the grief in different ways. The following might help:
- Scrapbooking about the person
- Caring on their story is very important for younger generations.
- Buying the deceased a gift – This can be a reminder of happier times and assist with openly keeping the deceased’s memory alive.
- Making the deceased’s favorite food
- Remembering aloud – Go around the room and each person says what you miss/love about those who have passed. This can help younger generations remember the deceased in a good light and help them manage death better in the later years.