The holidays can be the most joyous time of the year for many families. However, for caregivers of someone with a debilitating disease or special medical needs, the extra responsibility of ensuring your loved one is comfortable can cause added stress during this crazy time of year.
It’s important that as a caregiver, you prioritize your own health so that you can be the best you need to be for yourself and your loved one. That can be hard to do during the commotion of holiday events, shopping, and additional family and friends who require attention during this time of year.
If you are a family caregiver over the holidays, follow these simple tips to help lessen the stress during the holiday season.
1. Plan Ahead and Have a Plan B
As a caregiver, you know that you always have to have a plan when you leave the house with your loved one. The holidays are no exception. To ease the stress in case your original plan falls through, have a back up plan prepared so that you won’t be scrambling for another option. Enjoying holiday events is important, so keep in mind how you can be prepared for a change in plans.
2. Have Patience and Understanding
It’s possible that your loved one may not be in the holiday spirit if they aren’t feeling well, or have a condition such as dementia where it is hard for them to understand everything that is happening around them. Therefore, it’s important to exercise compassion, and to not take it personally when your loved one may not be as excited about a holiday treat as you may be.
3. Take Time for Yourself
Remember to practice self-care during this time, even though it may seem impossible to fit it in the schedule. Even if this means spending a few moments admiring the tree, lighting a scented candle, and enjoying a holiday cookie, remember that you do deserve to enjoy the little moments, and that your holiday experience is just as important as the experiences of those who you care for.
4. Create New Traditions
If your loved one has a disease such as dementia, it may be hard for them to recall all the previous holiday traditions that you had together. Though it is hard on everyone in the family when someone is losing their memory, it can be a nice gesture to start to create new traditions, or do things a little differently than you may have done them before. Take this time to try new holiday experiences, and make sure you take photos to share with your loved one when they may have trouble remembering in the future.
5. Don’t be Afraid to Say “No”
You may feel pressure from friends and other family members to attend events or dinners during this time, but don’t be afraid to say “no” when you need a break, or if it is in the best interest of your loved one who you care for. The holidays can be overwhelming for anyone, but your responsibilities to care for someone else and to yourself are important. Don’t be afraid to explain to friends and family that you need to take care of yourself or your loved one, and that you will have to politely decline their invitation.
We understand that caring for a loved one is hard year-round, but can be considerably more work during the time of year when there is a lot more stress on spending extra time with friends and family. If you need assistance with caregiving in the comfort of your own home, contact us at 24/7 Nursing Care at (786) 518-3622. We have a team of professional caregiving and nursing staff that will provide in-home services for you and your loved one. We look forward to helping you this holiday season!
Cancer, Caregiving, Holidays. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.cancercare.org/publications/145-caregiving_during_the_holidays
Goyer, A. (n.d.). Managing Caregiver Stress and Burnout During the Holidays. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-12-2013/caregiving-holiday-stress-goyer.html