While Thanksgiving is usually a time of gathering for feasts with friends and families, this year’s pandemic has demolished many of those hopes and happy times.

Mary Limas is a therapist with the Senior Life Solutions program at Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City. Limas says we all need to be watchful of warning signs in those around us, especially our older loved ones.

“When you know someone might be depressed, you want to be there for that person and it may mean more than being there to listen,” Limas says. “If they need treatment, it’s important to be supportive. Help them stick to the treatment plan. Make sure they stay in touch with the professionals, the therapists.”

Time is one of the most valuable commodities we can share, she says, and if you can even make a brief call to someone who’s isolated, it could help them a great deal.

“Whether it’s during the holidays or once a week, if you’re able to take the time to visit with them, it’s important,” Limas says. “Take any threats or casual mentions of death or suicide seriously. Know important emergency phone numbers, such as the hotlines, the hospital, 911.”

Due to COVID-19, many of us have lost friends or relatives to the disease and we’re missing out on our usual activities — and special events, like a big Thanksgiving dinner. Limas says loss can be a significant stressor.

“For many, it’s a loss of loved ones but also a loss of tradition and routines,” Limas says. “Many people can feel more isolated and alone and they may feel bombarded by messages about the way of life and how families should be this time of year.”

She says to try and focus on positive memories as well as the here-and-now and zero in on the blessings of today.

Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this report.