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Changes within this year can produce an onset of holiday depression in senior citizens

Has this happened to you recently? You call grandparents looking to spread Christmas cheer, and suddenly find them in a funk.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Has this happened to you recently? You call your grandparents looking to spread Christmas cheer, and suddenly find them in a funk. It can happen and no matter what you do, it's hard to get them out of it.

We may have the solution at Markham and University.

On the seventh floor of CHI St. Vincent Hospital, you will find the senior behavioral health unit, where Steven Simmons is the Community Education Coordinator.

“Usually you know the holidays are associated with traditions that we that we use every year and traditions that have been passed down. So, if those things, seem to change, then that's certainly a sign of something going on,” Simmons said.

The changes this year can produce an onset of holiday depression in seniors. 

“Feelings or thoughts of the kind of isolated behaviors like loss of interest in something that a person would ordinarily take pleasure in doing,” Simmons said.

So what do you do? Well first thing, you fight the misconceptions about depression in senior citizens.

“You know that maybe they'll snap out of it, you know, or this will pass in time,” Simmons said.

To the stigma of admitting your elderly relative to a behavioral health unit:

“It's a difficult decision to make because there is a stigma that's associated with what we do and that it's a crazy house,” Simmons said.

After a screening, individualized programs ensure that in patients make progress after 10 to 12 days.

It's certainly worth the fight. Depression wastes a senior citizen's most precious commodity — time.  Keep in mind the behavioral health unit doesn't require referrals made by primary care physicians.

Individuals can reach out by calling the senior behavioral health unit. You'll find the number on the CHI St. Vincent website.