How to Help Nursing Home Residents Deal with Holiday Depression

How to Help Nursing Home Residents Deal with Holiday DepressionHow to Help Nursing Home Residents Deal with Holiday Depression

The holidays are still a ways off, however as they approach it’s important to understand that this can be a rough time for nursing home residents, especially those who recently made the transition from living on their own.

Laci Cornelison, a research assistant with Kansas State University’s Center on Aging, pointed out that in some cases, nursing home residents may be dealing with the loss of their lifelong partner, or coming to terms with a long-term disability or chronic illness.

“The depression rate among institutionalized elders is around 50 percent,” she said. “The holidays can be a trigger for increased symptoms of depression, likely because they are a time of observing long-standing traditions and getting together with family and loved ones.”

Although the actual condition of depression is a disease and cannot always be treated without medication, there are still things your nursing home staff and the family members that visit can do to help residents deal with holiday depression. Here are just a few ideas.

  • As an activity, bring in old fashioned greeting cards and magazine pictures featuring the holidays to create Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s cards by cutting and pasting on card stock. If the resident has family visiting, encourage them to join.
  • Walk around the nursing home together and look at the holiday decorations. Search for items or bring items in that have scents, such as cinnamon-scented pine cones, or candles that have holiday smells.
  • Encourage the resident’s family to bring in a laptop computer if possible, and use the web cam to let the resident speak to long-distance family members.
  • Ask the resident’s family to bring in a CD of old songs popular during their younger days, or favorite songs from the holidays. This is a great idea for people with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, as they tend to respond well to music.

A great way for nursing home staffers to alleviate feelings of depression around the holidays is by encouraging a family environment within the nursing home.

“If residents are invested in a community of connections, developing meaningful relationships with other residents and staff, then they will be less likely to focus on their problems and have a higher level of satisfaction,” Cornelison said.

At DigniCARE, we’re invested in the care of the senior living community. We’ve created our  insurance and risk management program specifically for the senior living industry, which encompasses innovative solutions for assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, nursing homes, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC). Contact us today at 855.883.6306 for more information.

This entry was posted in blog, Nursing Home, Nursing Home Insurance and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.