New Jersey -- The holidays should be a time of joy, good cheer and high hopes for the New Year. Shopping for gifts, decorating the Christmas tree and preparing for get-togethers with family and friends are usually anticipated events that accompany the season. But many people, especially older adults, experience the holiday “blues” during this special time of the year.

“Older adults can have an especially difficult time with the holidays for many reasons,” says Patricia Toglia, RN, MS, Vice President, Barnabas Health Home Health Care, which supports affiliates Community Medical Center Home Health and Community Kare, both located in Toms River, and JerseyCare Home Health and Medical Center Health Care Services, both in West Orange. “The recent loss of an important person or the memory of a traumatic event, such as a serious illness, can dampen holiday spirits. The inability to perform everyday tasks and holiday traditions, such as preparing a large holiday meal, can make the upcoming events difficult to handle and may cause the person to focus on what they used to do. Others may feel isolated or forgotten as the season reminds them of more enjoyable past celebrations. For others, just getting together with family members can be stressful or depressing.   

Whatever the reason, there are ways older adults can overcome holiday depression.  Professionals from Barnabas Health Home Health Care offer the following suggestions to help ease the stress of the holiday season:

  • Keep your expectations reasonable.  The holidays do not have the power to magically turn sadness into joy. Don’t be disappointed if the holidays are not like they used to be. Life brings changes. Each holiday season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way.
  • Take some time for yourself.
  • Don’t overdo it.
  • Make plans.
    • If you expect to be home alone during the holidays, consider doing volunteer work at a local hospital or shelter, or make plans with a friend who will also be spending the time alone.  Helping others will make you feel better about yourself.

For more information about Barnabas Health Home Health Care, please visit


Tips for the Caregiver – Avoiding Holiday Stress

Preparing for the normal demands of the holiday season can be even more stressful when the care of a family member or friend is involved.  Here are some useful “tips” for caregivers during the holidays and every day of the year.

  • Recognize your own importance.  Before you can properly care for someone else, you need to take care of your own physical and emotional needs. Eat a nutritious diet and get an adequate amount of sleep.  Most importantly, do not neglect your own health as you get wrapped up in the holiday season.
  • Ask others for help.
  • Seek professional guidance.
  • Recognize that daily routines change, especially during the holidays.