We’ve all heard and read about depression during the holiday season, but it can especially ring true for seniors and people with disabilities for a myriad of reasons. There is also tons of real data to back up the fact that a countless Americans feel this burden during this season. Along with that data, as outlined below, we give some concrete reasons as to why someone may feel these emotions more strongly during this time and some tips as to how loved ones can help seniors and individuals with disabilities cope, and hopefully overcome, seasonal depression.
According to a recent study of approximately 300 individuals, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 64 percent of people living with a mental illness reported that their conditions worsened around the holidays.
According to a poll of 2,119 adults conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Psychiatric Association, Americans are five times more likely to say their level of stress increases rather than decreases (41% to 7%) during the holidays. Adults are most likely to feel anxious about missing family members (47%)
Research shows that clinical depression with a seasonal pattern impacts as much as six percent of the population, and it’s also common for those who don’t normally struggle with depression to experience it temporarily in the winter months.
Numerous factors contribute to the depression many of us feel during the holidays, including, but not limited to:
THE SOLUTIION (OR AT LEAST SOMETHING TO TRY)
While not entirely holiday-specific, the National institute on Aging has a social isolation and loneliness outreach toolkit on their website that includes plenty of graphics, literature, videos, and more that give tips and display statistics on the subject as it relates to the elderly population. For example, one in four adults age 65 and older are considered socially isolated. One tip includes considering adopting a pet for comfort to help lower stress and blood pressure. While the materials aren’t seasonally specific, the toolkit still provides some tremendous information for those struggling with social isolation, loneliness, and depression
Some other tips that we’ve included below provide us with the opportunity to show love to our loved ones, specifically seniors and individuals with disabilities. By showing some of these small gestures, we’re able to ensure the holiday season is less burdensome for those we love:
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL OF US AT PALCO!
by Spencer Griffin
Director of Marketing