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Family Caregiver Tips: Dividing Your Time this Holiday Season

Family Caregivers in Westwood, MA

Happy family enjoying Christmas dinnerBeing a part of the sandwich generation can often be a challenging prospect. According to the AARP, however, more than 66 million American adults have a daily reality of straddling the line between family caregiver for aging parents and parent, trying to fulfill the needs and desires of both groups without sacrificing their role in the life of the other group. This can be a stressful undertaking, particularly during the holiday season when your schedule fills up even further and you want to spend as much time as possible with everyone you love.

Dividing your time during the holiday season can be difficult. You may feel that every time you choose one event or task, it is at the sacrifice of something else. This can take much of the joy and excitement out of the holidays and leave you feeling stressed, exhausted, and upset rather than full of the holiday spirit. Learning how to divide your time effectively protects your mental and emotional health, helps keep your care efforts for your loved ones on track, and enables you to better enjoy the season.

Use these tips to help you divide your time in your family caregiver journey this holiday season:

  • Schedule important things first. A calendar or day planner is a valuable tool when you are trying to divide your time and make sure that you take care of everything that you need to during the holiday season. When you are putting together your schedule, make sure that you do not take any of your tasks for granted. Include everything that you need to do so that you can properly schedule your days. This means putting going to the grocery store, helping your parents with their bath, or spending the afternoon baking cookies with them right on your calendar. This way you do not overstretch yourself on any given day.
  • Combine tasks. Just because you are caring for your seniors and your children does not mean that everything you do needs to be separate. In fact, combining efforts with both generations of your family is a fantastic way to not only make sure that all of your tasks get completed efficiently, but to make treasured memories with all of the members of your family. Look for ways throughout the holidays that you can fulfill needs for your parents and your children without compromising the quality of time or care that you give either one, such as bringing your parents to the grocery store after attending a school pageant together.
  • Say no. You might not like disappointing anyone, or feel like the holiday season is the time when you should do everything that you possibly can with as many people as you can possibly do them with. This train of thought, however, can quickly result in you becoming overwhelmed and diminishing how well you are able to do any of the things that you do. Learn how to say no when it comes to tasks that are not of the highest importance, or that you simply do not have time to do. Remember that your parents, your children, and your own wellbeing are your top priorities and that everything else must fit around them. Do the things that are most important and do not feel guilty about declining other invitations or cutting down on your usual volunteer work so that you can keep up with your caregiver tasks.
  • Prioritize. There is nothing like being a family caregiver to give you perspective about what is really important. Evaluate your usual holiday celebrations and cut out things that are not of the most importance to you. If you always bake five different kinds of cookies but your family really only eats three of them, cut out those other two. If you always go to the arrival of Santa at the local mall, but your children have grown out of that tradition, do not feel bad about cutting it out. Prioritizing your family’s activities allows you to devote more time to the things you do so that you can really enjoy them.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073