The holiday season is a time to spend with family and friends but it can also be a time the winter blues begin to surface, even in the desert, a feeling that affects many who may be alone this winter.
Ken Seeley is the founder of the Ken Seeley Communities, he said the holiday season may bring deep feelings of loneliness for some to the surface.
Seeley said, “I think the holidays are really difficult for a lot of people because they are alone and they see all of the other families getting together and it just feeds the depression.”
Not many people like to talk about the seasonal funk, that may come from stress from holiday planning or sadness from being alone. The elderly are a community vulnerable to depression during the holiday time, but local resources such as the Joslyn Center in Palm Desert offer programs for the senior community.
Jack Newby is the executive director for the center, he said, “Many people have retired here their families live far away or they lost contact with their family or don’t have any family so they’re alone, so we provide a place for people to meet new people and get engaged.”
The Joslyn Center is one of many locations with resources for seniors but for volunteers and visitors of the center, sometimes it is simply about the company.
Dede Deatrick helps in various ways at the center, she said, “It’s my free entertainment, the people are wonderful and I collect people stories and some of my people are 94 some are only in their seventies.”
Deatrick has a deep love for life and she wants to share the joy with everyone she encounters, however that was not always the case. Deatrick tried ending her life many years ago, but she did not go through with it.
Deatrick said, “I got angry and I said I am just as good as anybody else, I deserve to live, I have huge challenges but I can overcome them.”
However, Seeley said to overcome depression this season one must challenge themselves to get out and simply be around people.
Seeley said, “And if you can’t get out and meet with somebody, pick up the phone there are hotlines out there that people will talk to you and help you take the step to get outside of yourself.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour service that is cost-free with people on the line who are trained to provide emotional support.