Depression Up During the Holidays For Seniors - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Depression Up During the Holidays For Seniors

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The holidays are a time when families get together and enjoy each other's company, but for many elderly people that is not the case. The holidays are a time when families get together and enjoy each other's company, but for many elderly people that is not the case.

YAKIMA, WA - The holidays are a time when families get together and enjoy each other's company, but for many elderly people that is not the case.

"Depression is very, very common in our community this time of the year, winter however, makes depression worse," said Dr. Qilin Lu from Yakima Regional Hospital.

Doctors and caregivers said they see depression rise during the holiday season because they are alone, and sometimes forgotten

"Not forgetting about them because they feel forgotten and this is one population that is forgotten," said Karen Sousley from Chesterley Meadows elder Care in Yakima.

But they say there is a way to get their spirits up

"There's three things, three components really that we try to focus on and more than anything it's going to be a sense of community and social involvement," Sousley said.

Doctors said however that might not be enough, even the weather adds to the depression.

"There's a condition called seasonal affective disorder where it not only affects the people who already have depression, it affects a normal person," Dr. Lu said.

Exercise and nutrition can help reduce this.  Care providers said even the smallest gesture can make the biggest impact.

"Just extra hellos, or a knock at the door, just want to see how you're doing.  I just can't say enough about reaching out to your own parents and loved ones and never assume that they don't have that feeling," Sousley said.

Doctors and caregivers said another trigger for holiday depression is this might be their first Christmas alone because of a loved one who passed away or they are unable to travel to be with their families.

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