Thanksgiving is fast approaching and with the latest COVID-19 health mandates, our Holiday gatherings may not look and feel the same as previous years. This can be particularly difficult on the elders in our lives who have perhaps already felt the effects of isolation from family and loved ones during ongoing county-wide restrictions. Accordingly, many families may opt to have smaller Thanksgiving gatherings or may choose to have their elder loved ones skip altogether. This lack of usual family get-togethers, or an inability to fully participate in family functions, may only further contribute to feelings of isolation among seniors. On the positive, resilience is a common trait in this age group. However, it’s important to recognize physical and emotional changes that may indicate a shift to anxiety and depression.
Signs of anxiety & depression in the elderly:
- Changes in appetite; weight loss or weight gain
- Increased symptoms of anxiety or worry
- Sleep pattern change
- Inability to focus on pleasurable activities
If you notice these changes, it’s important to validate emotions and behavioral shifts. While you can’t change the situation, you can continue to check-in with phone calls, Facetime, and emails. It’s worthy to remind an elder of how they successfully coped with adversity in the past, and that you’re there for them throughout this time of uncertainty. If religion is important, you can offer to pray together and encourage them to reach out to their pastor or rabbi. Additionally, you can speak with their physician and ask for a referral to a psychologist who can offer suggestions for relief.
Caregiver Stress –
As COVID continues to force lockdowns, many families are caring for aged loved ones at home and might be ill-equipped for the enormity of this responsibility. What Can you Do?
Consider a Respite – ask for help from a family member or trusted friend. Even small breaks can provide needed relief and time to recharge. Another consideration is utilizing a local senior community respite program where a loved one can live onsite and receive care on a temporary basis. This also provides an opportunity to give a prospective senior community a “trial run” and see if it’s a feasible long-term option.
As always, the Team at Exceptional Senior Placement is here to answer questions and concerns as it pertains to seniors and their unique needs, especially during the Holiday season. We wish you and yours a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.