SEATTLE, Oct. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With daylight growing shorter and holiday decorations beginning to festoon the stores, it can be a sensitive time for seniors. Already more prone to depression than the younger demographic, the problem can be exacerbated for those worrying about how the circumstances and processes of aging may change the coming holiday season. Emeritus Senior Living's "BluesBusters" teams will be out in force in October to help local seniors not only survive, but thrive, during coming weeks.
Depression affects 15% of Americans over age 65, according to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation; this figure is five percentage points higher than the incidence in the overall population.
"From experience, we know that for seniors, this time of year can be a trigger," said Budgie Amparo, Executive Vice President of Quality Services for Emeritus Senior Living. "Increased hours of darkness can lower their spirits. On top of that, they may be thinking about how the inability to travel will keep them from spending the holidays with family. For those who have lost spouses or others dear to them, they might be worrying about getting through seasonal festivities without their loved ones at their side."
To combat the problem, groups of professionals from Emeritus Senior Living's communities, known as "BluesBusters," will be visiting seniors in their homes for free through Nov. 22 to conduct an emotional wellness check, provide tools and resources, and connect them to activities known to fight depression."These include exercise, which is a natural mood elevator; activities that give a mental and physical lift; and socializing," said Amparo, noting that numerous studies have shown engagement with other people improves health mentally and physically. As part of the BluesBusters initiative, seniors will be invited to take part in six free activities and events at their local Emeritus Senior Living community, such as exercise and art classes, concerts, parties and dining opportunities.