The joys of the holiday season typically come with a whirlwind of activity. From attending the grandkids’ seasonal events to making a pie for your family potluck, the to-do list seems never-ending. When you are caring for a senior loved one, this festive time of year can easily become overwhelming.
What can caregivers do to enjoy the season without putting a senior loved one’s health at risk?
We have a few holiday survival tips caregivers can use this year.
Caregiving and the Holidays
1. Identify your biggest sources of stress.
First, try to pinpoint which activities or tasks are causing you the most anxiety. Family caregivers may struggle with a variety of stressors, including:
- Having doubts about your caregiving skills
- Worrying that your loved one is feeling left out
- Lacking time to complete holiday tasks
- Neglecting your own family’s needs
- Feeling down about missing holiday activities
Once you’ve identified your specific stressors, it’s easier to find solutions.
2. Reset your expectations.
Caregivers are often reluctant to ask for help, especially when caregiving during the holidays. Many believe no one will care for a loved one like they can. During the holiday season, when the demands on everyone’s time are even greater than usual, a caregiver is more likely to experience overload or burnout. Give yourself permission to seek outside help and scale back holiday traditions to something more manageable.
Look your calendar over carefully and accept only those invitations that mean the most. Decline requests that require time you don’t have to give, such as baking a cake for the church bake sale or helping the garden club decorate for the holiday parade.
If no one is available to help provide care for your family member, consider employing the services of a home care agency. An experienced caregiver can stay with your loved one while you enjoy a neighbor’s cocktail party or take a holiday cooking class with friends.
3. Take care of yourself, too.
Caregivers often place their own health and well-being last on the list of importance. They skip meals or rely on fast foods. Exercise and sleep are also sacrificed.
While it may seem like a luxury you don’t have time for, making your own needs a priority is essential. Remind yourself that if you experience a serious health crisis of your own, your senior loved one may have a tough time finding someone else to assist them.
4. Learn more about local care options.
Emergencies happen at any time of year, and at any age. Taking a proactive approach to preparing for the worst is always a good idea. That means researching and visiting with local senior care providers before you need them.
Respite care services can be a great way to try out a home care agency. You can use them on a short-term or permanent basis to aid in caring for a senior loved one.
If you would like to learn more about respite care, please call the Griswold Home Care location nearest you. One of our team members will be happy to help!