Dec. 15 -- SUNDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- While the holiday season is a festive time for many, it can cause depression for seniors who've lost loved ones or are having health or financial problems.
For some seniors, this despondency can lead to suicide, according to the American Geriatrics Society, which noted that the 2004 suicide rate for Americans over the age of 65 was 14 per 100,000.
The society offers seniors some tips on how to avoid feeling blue during the holidays:
If you notice that an older loved one seems depressed, lend a hand by offering to help them with shopping, transportation and preparations for get-togethers in their homes, the society advises. Encourage your loved one to talk about how he or she is feeling and acknowledge their difficult feelings.
You should also encourage your loved one to talk to a health-care provider. Many older people don't realize when they're depressed. If you believe an older loved one is depressed, tell them depression is a medical illness that can be treated and managed.
Mental Health America has more about holiday depression and stress.
SOURCE: American Geriatrics Society, news release,