Holiday Joy Turns to Holiday Blues

posted Dec 14, 2012, 2:36 PM by Latia Murray

With Thanksgiving behind us, the Christmas Season is already in full swing with television advertisements and decorated trees, streets and houses. The joy of the season experienced by most during the holiday season is on display at every turn.

For some nursing home residents, however, the holidays aren’t such a joyful time. It can be emotional, grievous and even depressing.  This time of the year can be depressing for many different reasons such as the loss of a spouse, memories of years past and reminders of illness or limitations.

“Since over half of nursing home residents do not receive any visitors, it can also be overwhelmingly lonely for these residents,” said South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Ombudsman Supervisor, Samantha Walker.

It’s important to understand grief and depression and how it feels for the residents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, irritability, restlessness, loss of interest, fatigue, insomnia, overeating or loss of appetite as possible warning signs.

The SWODA Ombudsman program seeks to help fill this gap for residents in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita Counties. Ombudsman volunteers visit residents a minimum of two hours per week and are even more vital during the holiday season.

“Often times, grieving or depressed residents just need someone to talk to who cares. It might just be general conversation or maybe memories of past holidays with their spouse or family,” said Walker. “Our volunteers can help so much, simply by listening.”

For more information about the SWODA Ombudsman Volunteer program or to become a volunteer, contact Samantha Walker at 580-562-4882.