Holiday Blues: Helping an Older Loved One Enjoy the Season

Holiday Blues: Helping an Older Loved One Enjoy the Season

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



Most people think of the holidays as a fun and festive time of the year. But for older adults, especially those who may have recently experienced a loss, the holidays can be anything but festive. It’s important for family members to learn the signs of the holiday blues and how they can help an older loved one overcome them.

The Holiday Blues: The Warning Signs a Senior is Suffering

If you know the signs a senior loved one is suffering, you can intervene early and prevent a small problem from becoming a big one.

Here’s what to watch for this holiday season:

  • Lack of interest in family gatherings and activities
  • Unintended weight gain or loss
  • Avoiding religious services they’ve always attended
  • A change in disposition such as becoming quick to anger or easily agitated
  • Giving up long cherished volunteer work, pastimes, or hobbies 

It’s important to watch for subtler signs that might indicate a senior is feeling blue: an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, an untidy house, or a less tidy personal appearance.

How to Help a Senior Overcome the Holiday Blues

Here are a few ways you can help an older adult you love overcome a case of the holiday blues:

  • Spend time together: Giving the gift of your time is one of the most meaningful ways you can help your loved one this holiday season. Whether it is wrapping gifts, addressing holiday cards, or shopping, include your loved one in even the smallest of holiday tasks. You might have to give them a little extra encouragement if they are reluctant to join you.
  • Listen to their struggles: An older adult who has lost someone close to them in recent months might find the holidays to be too much. They may just need someone to quietly listen to their struggles without passing judgment or giving advice. The simple act of listening can go a long way toward alleviating a senior’s suffering.
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle: When someone is feeling a little down, healthy activities such as eating well and exercising can fall by the wayside. Comfort foods and too much time in front of the television can generally make a case of the blues worse. Try to find time to exercise with your senior family member a few times a week, and help them stick to a healthy diet.
  • Try to get outside: A lack of sunlight can leave most people feeling a little down. For a senior who is already struggling, spending all their time indoors might turn a mild case of the holiday blues in to something more serious like depression. Encourage your loved one to spend a small amount of time outside each day soaking up the sunlight. It might be by talking a quick walk around the block or just sitting on a bench enjoying the birds.

Advice for the Family Caregiver

We know the role of family caregiver can leave adult children feeling a little uncertain and insecure. That’s why we created the Vitality Senior Living Caregiver’s Checklist. It’s designed to help adult children who are learning how to support an aging parent’s needs. You can download it at no cost to learn more.

caregiver's checklist
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