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Lilacs & Greensleeves: ‘Giving’ the Boot to the Holiday Blues


Ahhhh…here it is again. The Holidays are upon us! The older I get the faster the days go by. Do you find that too? I have to tell you that I love this time of year! I am an Autumn girl and having grown up in Pennsylvania, I find myself really enjoying this time of year!

The colors of the trees, football games every week, the smell of wood burning in the fireplace, the crisp Fall air, homey meals cooking on the stove and in the oven. Oh my, I am closing my eyes as I take a deep breath and allow my mind to wander!

Speaking of all of those wonderful things about Autumn, I will tell you that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. There is so much to be thankful for in my life. My faith, the blessings that I have found working for Donna and Bill Hoover at Care4You, good family and friends, a country that I love and being able to give to those in need. Those are just a few of the reasons that I have to be thankful for and I truly am!

I received an email one day that touched my heart with an understanding of what it means to give thanks. It read something like this;


Things to Be Thankful For:

Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.

Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you’re employed.

Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.

Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.

Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.

Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.

Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.


Yes, I can be thankful for all of these things and more. Yet I know that for many this time of year, it can be difficult to feel that thankfulness, that joy.

We at Care4You believe that this can be especially true for our seniors who because of loved ones gone on and memories that fill their hearts and minds, they can respond to the holidays with what is commonly called, the ‘Holiday Blues.’

So what do we do? How do we support our seniors when they may be feeling so sad? Feelings of depression can be something that may need the attention of the family doctor so I think we should be discerning and recommend that a visit to their primary doctor just may be necessary.

For us as caregivers, validating their feelings is up there at the top of the list. Would we want anyone telling us that something we’re feeling is not legitimate? Another thing I personally try to do is lead with short and simple questions that enable our clients to talk about their thoughts and their feelings, if they so choose.

They may show all kinds of emotion and it’s ok to cry and even be angry at the unfairness of loved ones gone on or the good old days not being there anymore. They may be upset at children, grandchildren and friends who don’t keep in touch anymore.

After validating and talking with those who are feeling the blues, I think the next thing is to find a way to help our seniors focus outward. Maybe inviting them to your celebration of the holidays as Care4You does each year or maybe spending part of your holiday with them should they be unable to leave their home.

How about including them in the ‘giving?’

I am a big fan of this because it can make our seniors feel like they are doing something good for someone else in need and making someone else’s holiday better, therefore they both can feel blessed by the ‘give.’

Like what, you may ask?

Well, we need to find out what they are capable of doing. Some of our seniors may not be able to contribute money or they may not be able to address envelopes for the cards because their handwriting is not as good as it used to be but they can put stamps and address labels on all those envelopes. Simple? Sure, but oh that wonderful feeling of being a team player! You just can’t beat it!

What else can our seniors do to feel good about being a part of this holiday season?

Helping to make a batch of cookies. Stuffing envelopes with the cards or newsletter updates. Taking them to the mall for Christmas shopping. Helping to decorate your tree. Helping them to decorate their tree and their home if they want to. Wrapping presents for special charities. Finding out the seniors favorite recipes and asking them to supervise or even help you make them and then at your dinner, acknowledge them in their contribution. With their permission, take them to the Senior Centers during the holidays where they may find some new friends.


What else can we do?

Please share with us your suggestions and let us all do what we can to care for our seniors, right through the holidays and beyond! Let’s ‘give’ the boot to the Holiday Blues!


Written by

Deb is our own Deborah McSherry, experienced nurse and caregiver extraordinaire. Deb has been with Care4You since 2009.