COVID-19 Information - Click Here to Learn More
Top

Caregiving During the Holidays

A family enjoying the holidays at home
By Claudette Forbes

Caring for a family member can be one of the most rewarding—and challenging—things you can do. When a family needs dedicated help, even normal times can require significant work on the part of others. When it comes time for the Holidays, it can mean even more work.

If you are a caregiver, here are some thoughts on how you can handle this holiday season.

Communicate

When you’re not the caregiver, it’s easy to overlook how overwhelming the job can be. Your family may be unaware of the level of work you do, how impaired the family member is, and what your daily life entails.

While you might feel a little strange detailing a beloved mom or dad’s cognitive decline, or other needs, now is the time to let them know. You may have more help than you realize, once family members realize the level of work involved and may step in to help.

Decline hosting and holiday tasks

Caregiving is already a huge task. There is no need for you to agree to help clean, decorate, bake, or host the holiday celebration as well. Sometimes our family, especially those who don’t live in the area, may not understand what you are going through.

It’s important to keep the holiday as low stress as possible for you and your loved one, and that means keeping your plate as free as possible so you can focus on what matters.

Don’t compare this Holiday to those in the past

In the past you probably had a glorious feast, spent months planning the decorations, and drank in the beautiful morning light as your children opened presents or played with family members. We all have that one extra special holiday we can never forget.

Those times however, were likely back when your parents were able to maintain their independence, and there was no one in the family who needed caregiving. Don’t hold this up as your ideal on how this holiday season should be. Things are different now.

It’s better to cherish this holiday season for what it is—one of a dwindling number you can spend with those close to you—rather than a scene straight from a Hallmark movie.

Minimize Stressful Situations

We all have that one family member who likes to discuss politics, goad others into angry reactions, or otherwise cause a scene. Stressful situations don’t just mar our holiday spirit however, they can really hurt your family member.

Even if they don’t quite understand what the conversation is about, they may pick up on the stress and react to it. Banning political discussions and other hot topics from holiday conversation can be a great way to ease tensions, and it’ll improve everyone else’s stress levels too.

With a little care and attention, and a lot of family support, the holidays can be one that everybody enjoys. A few simple rules can go a long way to making this holiday season more enjoyable, and give you a fond memory of your aging loved ones.

For more caregiving information and support, contact the experienced caregivers at Homewatch CareGivers of Woodbridge, NJ today.