Wednesday, 26 November 2014 23:51
The Holiday Season is often perceived as a stressful and dark time for many people suffering from mental illnesses, especially depression. While we normally think of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, and New Year's as a time for dressing up, parties, family, feasting, lights, music, and the exchanging of gifts, it is often a stark reminder of the bleak, lonely existences for many, who often remember loved ones gone and expectations dashed. Even though many studies have debunked the notion of increased suicide rates during the holidays, and while seasonal affective disorder is more closely related to the short winter days and cold weather, than a lonely Christmas Eve, it doesn't negate the need to stay in touch with loved ones suffering from depression and other mental illnesses. What can we do to help them get through this tough time, which would normally be a joyous, celebratory part of the year?
As Thanksgiving approaches, there are many things to be thankful for. One of them, for me, is the Internet, where I like to get many of my helpful tips for all kinds of things in life. I peruse the various self-help, WebMD, and Wiki-esque sites, blend them in with my own experiences of what works, and come up with some of my best suggestions and advice. Here goes:
For one thing, be thankful that you are in a position to offer loving support, friendship, and assistance to those in need, whether it be a family member, loved one, or member of the public in a charitable fashion. We may never know the impact that our just showing up, offering a helping hand, or our kind words can have on improving someone's outlook. And as I always say, if not you, who? Be the one to make a difference, even if it's just in one person's life.
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 23:48
Whether it's Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa – or your spouse – the "holiday quarter" can present special challenges for families with a loved one suffering from dementia.
"We have an expectation that loved ones should never change from the person we've perceived them to be for years, but everyone changes significantly over an extended period, especially those diagnosed with dementia," says Kerry Mills, a sought-after expert in best care practices for people with dementia, which includes Alzheimer's. November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month.
"Dementia encompasses a wide range of brain diseases, which means it's not the fault of a Grandma if she has trouble remembering things or gets flustered. Empathy for what she's experiencing on the level of the brain will help your relationship with her. Do not expect her to meet you halfway to your world; you have to enter her world."
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