At a joyous time for so many who are young(er) and an emotional time for so many who are old(er) and have suffered loss, one wonders whether having the first day of Chanukah begin on the exact same day as Christmas compounds the number of lonely, sad, depressed people in the world.
Countless articles and studies about holidays bringing on depression are available. Advice for sufferers and information about available support exist in abundance. Googling “holiday depression” produces 1,220,000 results. Even here, on this blog since its inception, holiday ideas for helping elders feel supported, cared about and loved exist.
What do we know and what can we do to reduce holiday loneliness in those we care about? Speaking personally–which I try to avoid–is my onIy option. I know from my counseling training that I can’t be objective when my husband died just over 6 months ago. That’s the reason for the larger gap of time between my last post and this. I simply couldn’t figure out how to write on the subject again. With a different perspective I’ve reread my prior posts and can comment. (Click links below and check out ideas.)
Understanding Aging Parents: Elders’s Tips to Reduce Loneliness at Christmas 2015
It’s the Haa, Haa-py-est Time of the year 2009
Help Parents Age Well With a Drive in the Dark 2010
Aging Parents After Christmas Let-Down 2012
Basically I accept the ideas in them just as much now, as I did when first posting them….with this addition:
Note the idea implicit in “Different Strokes for Different Folks” and “One Size Doesn’t Fit All” is reflected in the interviewees’s comments (see above posts). They pertain to:
ability to take initiative
comfort level being alone or with a pet, (I’ve heard women say being alone at night is difficult)
availability of family living near, and no doubt the
ability to see “The Glass 1/2 full or 1/2 empty”
All are important aspects to consider when wanting to alleviate or lessen feelings of sadness and loneliness.
For me, personally, the fact that my somewhat rare terrestrial orchid (grows on the ground–pictured potted in soil) sends up this display every year around Christmas/Chanukah, reminds me: life goes on–even after loss. Indeed those tiny clusters of white orchids that resemble a lit candelabra do wither and die.
And while we might feel like the withering and die stage at times, especially after loss, life does go on; so we might as well do our best to make a comeback. And it might take help from caring friends and family if it’s allowed. The comeback will, perhaps, not be as spectacular as this orchid’s…but then…………..
As we try our best to help the elders we care about age well, we remember Grandma’s saying: “When we’ve done our best, we’ve done our best. Angels can do no more!”
MERRY CHRISTMAS HAPPY CHANUKAH
Related: the “top stories” about Holiday Depression on Google today:
Holiday Depression–Identifying the Signs and Finding Support
Fox 13now 12/ 22/16
Psych Central · 12/21/16