If you believe that your parent, spouse, friend or neighbor may be depressed, there are steps that you can take to help lift their spirits. You are probably busy with your own holiday preparations, but it’s important to remember what the holiday season is truly about. Simplifying some of your plans will allow you to focus on what really matters: the important people in your life. Use these ideas to brighten up a loved one’s winter season.

Social isolation is more than just the holiday blues; seniors who are not engaged with their communities can suffer physically.  Studies have found that older adults who do not feel they are valued members of society can slip into depression, withdrawing from others and failing to eat or sleep properly, get regular exercise or keep doctor appointments.  Social isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of mortality in older adults and may lead to a quicker cognitive decline in some seniors.

Many seniors face loneliness. Even if family members live in the same city, adult children often become so busy with their own lives and social obligations that they fail to recognize how much their parents or grandparents look forward to spending time with them during the holidays.

Caregivers may notice a sudden change in mood, appetite, or energy level in their loved one, other symptoms may involve, sadness, sleep disturbances or lethargy.  The key in assessing for SAD is to tune into sudden changes that seem to revolve around the cold, dark months of winter.  Of course, any symptoms of depression should be reported to the physician regardless of the season.  

Thurs. Nov. 30th 1-2pm EST. Join Dr's Hitzig and Mirza for this webinar presentation about their work to better understand the issues impacting older Chinese adults living in the Kensington-Chinatown Neighborhood (KCN) including a multi-phase needs assessment and the development an action plan to make the KCN more age-friendly. The aim of the resulting action plan is to serve as a platform to support age-friendly initiatives aimed at reducing social isolation in older Chinese adults living in the KCN. For more information and to register click here.

This reading list provides links to and summaries of a variety of open source resources related to the care of older immigrants with specific attention to end-of-life care. 2 pages. 

The authors undertook a scoping review focused on answering 5 questions related to population health patterns, health risks and ouctomes of ethnocultural older adults compared to other older adults, unmet health needs, health care service use and health promotion and disease prevention within the Canadian context.

Social isolation is a reality experienced by many seniors and particularly immigrant and refugee seniors. Even though it is not easy to recognize, it has significant health, social, and economic consequences. The Government of Canada has taken an active interest in the issue of social isolation as have provincial governments. At the community level, several organizations individually and in partnerships, have been actively engaged in offering programs and services to seniors at risk for social isolation.

Social isolation can often pose serious health threats to the senior population, and it’s more common than most people may think. It’s important to foster an environment where seniors can stay socially engaged as they get older. Here are some ways to promote social health, connectedness and help seniors avoid social isolation.

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