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How to Support the Family Caregiver During the Holidays

A family enjoying the holidays at home
By Kathryn P.

If you have a member of the family who dedicates their time to helping your loved one as they age, you probably know that a tremendous sacrifice is involved in doing so. Caregiving requires great compassion, hard work, and sometimes an overwhelming amount of time away from their own families as well.

The holidays can be a particularly stressful time for family caregivers because not only do they have to worry about bathing, feeding, shopping, and entertainment for their aging loved one, but also be concerned with seasonal activities and responsibilities.

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to step in and help the caregiver in the family. Even a small gesture at this time of year can make a big difference, and doesn’t take much time to do. Here are a few tips for helping your family caregiver have a wonderful holiday as well.

Recognize their work

One of the simplest things you can do is recognize all the effort they are putting in as a family caregiver. It’s easy to feel invisible when you spend years supporting an aging relative with not a word from anyone else.

A few words can make a big difference, but you can take it a step further and put together a holiday gift for them as well. Recognizing their efforts can make a big difference in how they feel.

Offer to help

Your family caregiver’s mind is probably spinning with all the extra things they have to do to help things run smoothly for your loved one. This could be as simple as running errands, cooking a dish that is soft enough for an aging person to enjoy and also meets any dietary requirements.

Offering to sit with mom or grandma for a few minutes while the caregiver gets a chance to eat in peace can also be a huge relief, and only takes a little bit of time.

Listen

Sometimes, all you need is someone who will listen to you with a sympathetic ear. Listening to their stories of what their work is like, how they are feeling, and what’s going on with your shared loved one can go a long way to making everyone feel better and less stressed.

Suggest help

Family caregivers have a tendency to push themselves long past what any human being should rightfully have to. Sometimes it’s obvious that they need additional help, or that it is time for professional care. If you notice this as you hear their stories or take a turn at helping out during the holidays, don’t be afraid to suggest it.

They may be aware of the fact that additional help is needed, and that added bit of confirmation can help put them on the path to getting a professional caregiver to help with the sometimes intense care required for our loved ones.

This holiday season, give special attention to the wonderful person in your life that has dedicated themselves to helping your shared relative to be comfortable and happy as they age. Holidays should be a time of peace and joy for everyone, and the power to bring that to a caregiver is yours.

For more information or resources to help family caregivers, contact Homewatch CareGivers of Annapolis today.