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Thanksgiving Tips For Family Caregivers

Family eating thanksgiving dinner
By Kathryn

The holidays are a special time for most, and this year, more and more families will be getting together for the holidays. If your family will be getting together this year, there’s no doubt that they are eagerly looking forward to seeing you again. Yet if you’re a caregiver for a family member, Thanksgiving can also be a bit stressful.

Here are a few holiday tips to inspire you and hopefully make this Thanksgiving a happy one full of good memories and time spent with family.

Let Someone Else Host

You are already doing a great service to your family by taking care of your family member, and it’s likely already taking up all your time and energy. It can add a huge burden to also be in charge of cooking, cleaning and decorating for a major family event.

Instead, let someone else in your family host. Focus on your family member who is in your care and leave others to do the holiday festivities.

Be Prepared for Senior Needs

As the family caregiver, you’re probably aware of certain things the holiday host may not be aware of. If you know that the family member you are caring for has special dietary needs or foods that can easily be chewed, it may be best to alert the person hosting or cooking.

It may also be worth bringing along something you know your loved one can eat so that they will definitely have something at the Thanksgiving Day table they are familiar with.

Holidays can also be emotional

Thanksgiving is meant to be spent with family, but it can also be a stressful time for seniors. Thanksgiving may remind them that loved ones they have cherished are no longer with them. It’s important to check in on the feelings of your loved one, and promptly help address symptoms of depression.

If possible, try to keep this holiday as low stress as possible. Forgive outbursts, avoid tense conversations, and try to keep the holiday as smooth as possible. Even if the senior you are caring for is not the one arguing or having an emotional outburst, they could still be hurt by family tension. It’s better for everyone to avoid that.

Not the caregiver? Here’s how to help

If you know a family caregiver is attending your Thanksgiving feast, there’s plenty of things you can do to help make it easier on them. Whether you are the host or an attending family member, there’s a lot you can do to help smooth the way for everyone.

The biggest and best thing you can do is offer to help. Share responsibilities for care—offer to sit with grandma or mom while the caregiver takes a break. Bring a gift for the caregiver, or simply saying thank you can go a long way to showing appreciation.

Caregiving for a family member is a huge responsibility, but there’s plenty you can do to help make this holiday a wonderful one. Whether you’re a family member wondering how you can ease someone else’s burden, or a family caregiver just trying to survive the holiday, by sharing the workload, you can go a long way to making the holidays wonderful for everyone.

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