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For many people, depression is synonymous with the holidays. Having a disability or involvement with a disabled loved one can make this depression worse. At this time of year, there is an expectation that everyone will feel merry. That social pressure added to strained family matters and money issues mean holiday depression can quickly get out of hand.

Many disabled people have mild to moderate depression on a daily basis, just from dealing with the disability and the physical and emotional pressures that come with it. Holiday stress can make it much worse.

Alleviate Holiday Depression In The Disabled

Be Around People

Don’t isolate yourself. Make time to be around people that you love and who love you. Unfortunately, disabled people find that friendships change as their disability worsens. As such, disabled people are often very lonely. That feeling worsens over the holidays as they are home alone while everyone else is having fun. Make sure to be around people who enjoy your company and who don’t trigger your depression. Make plans in advance so everyone knows who they’ll see when for the holidays. If you’re alone for the holidays, reach out to others who may be lonely too. Spend time alone to be a little sad, then reward yourself and go have some fun with people. If you’re in a support group, keep going—it may be even more important during the holidays.

If you know someone with a disability, remember they often can feel like outsiders, particularly at the holiday season. Include them on outings or go to their place and have some holiday fun. Volunteer your time to help a disabled group. You will feel personally satisfied, and you’ll lift their moods tremendously.

Keep it Simple

Don’t overdo it on the decorating. A nice tree, some cute stockings and a few lights are festive and fun. Just accept that you can’t do everything. Decorate a little and then be done with it! If you need help cooking or decorating, just ask. It’s more fun as a group anyway! Have fun spending time with people, watch Christmas movies and bake cookies.

Keep your shopping simple, too. If navigating the malls with your disability is too hectic, ask a friend to go shopping. Even better, stay in your warm jammies, shop online, and have everything delivered to you. Many companies offer free or reduced shipping for the holidays.

Don’t Overindulge

Many overindulge during the holidays as a way to mask their depression. Keep your typical routine of eating and drinking and be sure to make time to rest and recharge your batteries. A great night’s sleep can work wonders for depression. Get your usual exercise as well—it will lift your spirits.

 

The holiday season can be stressful, especially for seniors. As we get older, families become busy with their daily lives and together time is often overlooked. In many cases, the holidays become a time of depression for seniors, who may have lost loved ones, suffer from chronic health issues, or are unable to travel to visit friends or family.

Fortunately, we can take steps to prevent holiday depression for seniors. With a little awareness and compassion, we can turn this time of year back into a cheerful memory for our elderly loved ones and better our lives as well. Caregivers in senior-care facilities can also play a big part of alleviating holiday depression in seniors.

4 Ways to Prevent Holiday Depression in Seniors

  1. Look Out for Signs of Depression

The first step to preventing holiday depression in seniors is knowing what to look out for. While it’s natural to feel a little blue during the holidays, there is a big difference between temporary sadness and depression.

Be on the lookout for symptoms of depression, like change in appetite or sleeping patterns, fatigue or lack of interest in activities your loved one previously enjoyed. To help gauge their depression, use the Geriatric Depression Scale – a list of yes or no questions that can help you determine the level of depression your family member or tenant may be suffering from.

  1. Plan Outings and Activities

 In many cases, senior depression comes about by not having enough to do during the holidays. During a season that’s usually considered busy and cheerful, too much free time can cause seniors to feel as if they are missing out on the joy the season once brought them.

Spend some time with your family member or senior residents by planning holiday-centric activities. Drive through a light festival, make gingerbread houses or take them to complete some holiday shopping. Involve your other family members too, if they are able to join.

  1. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

 If your senior loved one has recently undergone some life changes (the loss of a loved one or relocating to a care facility), they may need some perking up during the traditional season.

Encourage them to share stories from their youth about the holidays and ask them questions to keep them engaged. Look through old photo albums or home videos and share some memories of your own. Rekindling old memories can help seniors cope during this nostalgic season.

 Make New Traditions

Many seniors experience sadness during the holidays due to lost traditions. In many cases, the people they may have once celebrated with are no longer here.

To help your loved one, offer trying a new tradition that everyone can enjoy, while still paying respects to those you may have lost. Building new memories will help depressed seniors find joy during what otherwise could have been a bleak season.

Adaptive archery is just like regular archery. The athlete uses a bow to aim and propel an arrow to hit a target. Archery is an adaptable sport, and people of all ages, genders and abilities can participate. Archery athletes with various physical or cognitive impairments can easily compete alongside other athletes.

Benefits of Competing in Adaptive Archery

Participation and competition in adaptive archery can be a way for athletes to be active and socialize. It can be an opportunity to learn something new and a way for athletes to spend time with others who have similar impairment issues or no impairment issues at all. Athletes must learn not only the fundamentals of the sport, but also how these fundamentals apply to them. For individuals who aspire to do more, there may be the option of making a U.S. Paralympic or World Championship Team.

Equipment Options

When selecting a bow there are two choices: recurve and compound. Both styles of bow offer advantages and disadvantages, and both options can be modified for use by adaptive athletes.

Recurve Bows

A recurve bow, also known as a traditional bow, consists of a single bow body and a string that connects to the ends of the body. This is a very simple and effective design. When starting out in the sport of archery, it is recommended to begin with a recurve bow. Modern recurve bows are made from fiberglass or carbon for strength and durability.

Compound Bows

Compound bows feature an updated, more modern, design. The bow body is smaller and constructed from aluminum or carbon fiber. Pulleys are located on the ends of the body and strings are run through the pulleys. The pulley system requires less strength to use the bow, while also delivering more power in the delivery.

How to Make Archery Adaptive

For prospective archers, it is necessary to work with a trainer who can assess their ability and skill level and create a teaching and training plan structured to fit the individual’s needs. Specialized equipment may be necessary in order to train and compete. A bow can be modified to make it possible for easy operation by an adaptive athlete.

Getting Started in Adaptive Archery

Training and practicing can be a fun activity for adaptive athletes interested in archery. Learning the proper techniques and skills can build discipline and self esteem. This is an activity adaptive athletes can learn and practice alongside other athletes of different abilities and skill levels. This can create understanding and give the athletes something they can learn more about and grow into. In some cases, athletes can go on to compete.

Summer is here, and it is time to get outside and soak up that sunlight! The days are long and beautiful, and there are just too many fun, relaxing and wonderful things to do than to stay cooped up in the house. While you are out and about taking in the summer weather, be mindful of the heat and wear sunscreen! Always practice good safety habits. Here are some ideas that hopefully will help keep you active whether inside or outside and in a positive frame of mind!

Exercise Ideas

Flea Markets and Craft shows

Walking around these events can be a fun way to get out, get a little exercise in, and find some good deals.

Nature Walks and Hikes

Set aside some time to go on a local nature walk. If it is not as easy to get back to mother nature due to where you live, consider a trip to the zoo for the day, where you can take in the animals at a leisurely pace.

Relaxing and Mobility-Friendly Ideas

Go Fishing

Whether you are going on a catch and release trip or to bring home dinner for, fishing can be a great way to spend a summer day! While you’re there why not have a picnic for lunch as well.

Watch an Outdoor Movie or Concert

Community events have gotten more and more popular recently and getting out in public to take in not only the atmosphere but a show is a great way to get out of the house for an evening.

Social Ideas

Join a Book Club

Summer book clubs sometimes meet in parks, but even if they meet indoors at least you’re among like-minded company and out of your house.

Volunteer

Check your local library and see if they would be interested in kids story time readings or other special events.

Other ideas

Sporting events

Anything from the neighborhood ball game to grandchildren swim meets can be a great way to spend the day. If you live in a larger town you might also have a local baseball team or even a professional sporting event.

Staycation Tourist

Depending on where you live many tourist cities offer everything from trolley rides to horse-pulled carriage and walking tours. Get out and take the time to see your city and all its sights.

Whether as youths, adults, or seniors, people with disabilities or special needs find it difficult to engage in many activities that would otherwise allow them to interact with other people. It can be easy to feel left out because you don’t think you can participate in the same things non-disabled people “typically’ do for fun. But at the same time, it’s important to recognize that many of the things holding you back from socializing are mental, and can be overcome. If you have a disability and want to know how to socialize better, here are a few tips:

1. Understand your limitations, but don’t let them hold you back.

If you have a physical disability, you may not be able to necessarily participate in sports the same way as others, or go hiking or dancing without having to make special preparations. But at the same time, don’t let that hold you back from the things you can do – like finding another way to play your favorite sport, or meeting new people at an activity that doesn’t require a lot of physical activity.

2. Build your socializing experience around activities.

The best way to build relationships with people is around shared interests, and this stands true for those with disabilities as well as those without. If you want to socialize, try doing something you love, whether that be volunteering, taking a cooking class, or touring a museum. That way you can talk to people who are interested in the same thing you’re doing, and have a conversation starter if you’re unsure where to begin.

3. Answer questions if people genuinely have them.

If people that you talk to are curious about your disability, take time to answer their questions, as long as they are being respectful about it and show a genuine interest in understanding you and your perspective. This will help facilitate easier and more natural conversation that you can both be comfortable with.

4. Look for special mixers in your area.

If your area has mixers specially for people with disabilities, consider going to one. You may be surprised at who you meet there, and you don’t need to feel like you disability is your identifying marker, either – have a conversation with someone without thinking about how you are different.

Whether you decided to research this topic for yourself or for a parent or other aging loved one, this can be a rather sensitive issue. There isn’t quite the same system or network of safety and reliance for senior citizens as there exists for young people. In fact, it is highly likely that those of the baby boomer generation (age 65+) are only going to become more lonely as time goes on. You probably know from your own life experiences that feelings of loneliness are awful; that pretty much goes without saying. But as you age and you become more isolated, those feelings of loneliness can compound and multiply and are “linked to poor cognitive performance and quicker cognitive decline.” To help you and/or your loved one through this time of life, here are a few tips to help maintain a healthy level of social involvement.

1. Volunteer

There are plenty of places needing volunteers: libraries, museums, theaters, hospitals, dog shelters, etc. Especially if you are new to retirement, volunteering is a great way to keep moving but without all the pressures of a 9-5 job, or whatever other form of work you dealt with.

2. Keep Learning

You may feel a little out of place going back to college, but you can also look into adult education classes at your community college or volunteer with AmeriCorp’s Senior Corp. If you sign on for continuing education classes rather than traditional college courses, these are much more likely to be full of adults middle aged and older. This is a great way to keep your mind sharp by learning a new skill and help you keep up with your socializing to help combat loneliness. It will also help get you out of your home several times a week and make you socialize with people you likely would never have met otherwise. It’s a winning situation no matter how you look at it.

3. Get Moving

One great thing about being a senior is that loads of places offer discounted or even free admission or memberships. Some places to look into might be dance companies that offer classes, universities (such as a nearby community college), or even your local rec center or gym. There are tons of low-cost options for gym memberships now too. When you move your body, studies have shown that sports, especially dance, help to create new neuro pathways in your brain and strengthen old ones, fighting against dementia. And taking a social dance class, in particular, will help ensure that you meet some new people and make plenty of friends.


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