Elderly man hopes to reconnect with old friends during the holidays

Published: Dec. 17, 2015 at 6:15 PM EST
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News 12 First at Five / Dec. 17, 2015

MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW) -- During the holiday season, it's not uncommon to get the blues.

Doctors say Seasonal Affective Disorder can be a trigger to underlying major depression. During the winter months, they recommend medication, light exposure treatments, and psychotherapy.

Doctors say shorter days and stress can lead to depression in people of all ages. But, especially in older folks, isolation and lonliness make this time of year more difficult.

For many, it's the most wonderful time of the year. Decorations line the porch, and deck the halls at Ann Tapley's Personal Care Home in Martinez.

"I've lived in several of these places. But this here is the best I've every been in," said James Roton, known as J.P. to most.

He is looking forward to seeing the few familiy members he has left on Christmas.

"I know they'll all be here some time that day. Or the day before. But they've all got families that they've got to live at home with and take care of. They're not like me, you know," he said.

"Sometimes [the feeling is] loneliness," said Dr. Nagy Youssef, psychiatrist at GRHealth, "Decreased daylight can definitely correlate with depression, especially in vulnerable people to depression."

He says even minor holiday blues can be cured with a little socialization.

"A lot of people can get well by just support from friends from family, and spending time relaxing," Youssef said.

"I've outlived all my family and all my friends, and I don't know how many I got out there. I might not have any," said Roton.

At the age of 81, he has one Christmas wish: to reconnect with old friends he hasn't seen in years, to share in some holiday cheer.

"Maybe this will bring them out in the open. And let them know I'm still breathing," he said.