Tips given on preventing blue Christmas for elderly

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — People have been known to be blue at Christmas even before Elvis sang about it. Older people especially can suffer from holiday depression, triggered by memories of lost loved ones or health problems or financial difficulties.

Elaine Eubank, president and CEO of CareLink, encourages people who care for older relatives to watch for signs of seasonal sadness.

“Family caregivers can take steps to prevent or curb holiday blues,” she said.[more]

She recommends the following tips from the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging:

• Invite them out and to gatherings. Remember to take into account their needs, such as transportation or special diets.

• Lend a hand by offering to help with shopping and preparations for get-togethers in their homes.

• Limit alcohol intake because it can actually lower spirits.

• Encourage them to talk about their feelings. Acknowledge their sadness, including a sense of loss if family or friends have died or moved away.

• Suggest your loved one talk with a health-care provider. Many older people don't realize when they're depressed. Let your loved one know depression is a medical illness and there's no shame in having it.

CareLink is a private, nonprofit agency serving older people and their families in Faulkner, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, Pulaski and Monroe counties. Information and assistance is available at 501-372-5300, 800-482-6359,

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