While the holidays can be a cheerful time for many, others experience seasonal depression and need a little extra care during Christmas and into the New Year. This time of year can be particularly difficult for those who have lost loved ones or are living away from them. At HomeCare Australia, we understand how challenging it can be to cope with all the merriment and extra activities that go with the season, and so we pay close attention during the holidays to ensure that our clients have the care and support they need, be it physical or emotional. Some of the ways in which we support our clients include:
- Watching for signs - we spend time with our clients and are trained to understand the difference between the holiday blues and the onset of depression. We check in on clients regularly and take action in our care plan if we see prolonged sadness, changes in eating habits or lessened activity levels.
- Listening - an important part of recognising symptoms of depression is listening to our clients to understand what they are going through. Taking the time to sincerely listen to how a client is feeling can make a difference. The client will know that their feelings are valued and we are able to notice warning signs of low mood onset.
- Spending extra time with clients - some may find the Christmas season lonely if they do not have many family or friends to visit or spend time with. We encourage family and friends to visit with their older relatives during the holidays. We also take the time to keep clients company who are feeling lonesome.
- Getting fresh air - if our clients are facing seasonal depression, we engage them in light activity whenever possible and time outdoors so they can benefit from the fresh air and sunlight.
- Maintaining a schedule - an important part of our case management strategy is schedule maintenance. Keeping to a routine, including getting plenty of rest, can help lessen symptoms of depression.
- Maintaining medication dosage and timing - it is important that clients keep up with regular medication doses as changes in regular and prescribed medications can impact mood. We pay close attention to make sure clients are taking medications as prescribed.
- Speaking with family - we make an effort to keep family updated about their relatives health and coping skills, and will discuss individual factors that might help cheer them up during the holidays.