It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 15, 2016 | Patricia Wuest

Make sure you avoid stress, unhealthy choices and depression this holiday season.

While the holidays are a time of joyful gatherings with family and friends, they can also be a source of stress, weight gain and depression for older adults. Here’s how to avoid all three.

Make Healthy Choices

It’s OK to enjoy tempting and tasty homemade meals and snacks, but try not to overindulge.

Follow Dietary Restrictions

It can be difficult to adhere to a diet during the holidays, so make sure you buy specific items to keep on hand in your fridge or pantry — and then make sure you eat them!

Drink in Moderation

Overindulging in alcohol can impair functions, and for some senior citizens, drinking alcohol with certain medications can have adverse side effects. Try choosing and serving alcohol-free drinks.

Keep Exercising

Stick to an exercise schedule — you’ll feel better, both physically and emotionally. A walk, even if it isn’t very far or fast, can do wonders for your body during the holidays. Plan them after family meals. And as long as you’re going, increase the fun by inviting everyone to join you!

Watch Your Budget

For many senior citizens, especially those on a fixed income, the holidays can be a financial challenge. Why not make homemade gifts? Homemade baked goods like cookies or breads or handcrafted ornaments often mean the most to recipients.

Keep a Positive Attitude

Chase the blues by taking time to remember what your thankful for.

Get Your Rest

Try to follow your regular sleep schedule, take a midday nap and remember to rest after exhausting travel, shopping trips or other physical activities.

Stay Connected

If you can’t spend the holidays with family or friends, keep active and engaged by volunteering, going to a senior center, or joining a club. Learn to text, skype or share videos with loved ones.

Tackle Grief

If you are grieving over the loss of a loved one, find a way to talk about that person with other family members. Place a framed photo alongside some holiday decorations. Make a scrapbook to share with family and friends. Remember the person in family prayers or toasts.

Go to Church or Synagogue

If your faith is important to you, find the time to celebrate it.

Make Lists

This can be a stress-buster. It makes you feel good to cross completed jobs off your list.

Get Out of the House

Take a drive to look at holiday decorations and lights, window-shop at the mall, enjoy a spa visit or see a holiday performance.

Make Time for Yourself

Spend just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Listen to holiday music. Read a book. Watch a favorite movie.

“With all the trees and the lake, it’s like living in the country.”

Lillie B

“I don’t have to cook, clean or wash my clothes. That’s the best!”

Margaret N

“The people are friendly; I love them all!”

Margaret B

“I’m just overjoyed to be here.”

Matt G

“You have to come and visit us, because it is beautiful.”

Lillie B