Holiday Tips for Caregivers
Holidays can make caregiving more challenging. There are a few things you can do to make it easier.
- Save a little time in the day to get some fresh air and a little exercise.
- Maintain a regular and balanced meal schedule.
- Set a time in the day to sit quietly or utilize a creative outlet to refresh your mind and body.
- Don’t be shy about asking for help.
- Keep a good dose of patience . . . keep emotions in check, and don’t take things personally.
- Find a positive message in a poem or a book to illuminate the start and end of your day.
- Give yourself permission to do less. The holidays aren’t about fancy decorations or multi-course meals. It’s about feeling good and spending time with people you care about.
- In fact, celebrating the holidays in low-key ways might be what’s best for your senior.
- No matter what, don’t pressure yourself to fit the holiday stereotypes that you see on TV.
- Know that you’re not responsible for your senior’s mood.
- As much as you want your older adult to have a happy and special holiday, you can only do so much. Some seniors won’t recognize or understand what’s happening, some stubbornly remain in a negative mood, and some just won’t appreciate your efforts.
- If your older adult doesn’t enjoy the holiday cheer, it’s NOT because you didn’t try hard enough or that you failed. You’ve done your best to create a joyous holiday under difficult circumstances and if your older adult can’t or won’t get into a happy mood, it’s absolutely not your fault. You’re taking care of the things you can control, so don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up over things you simply can’t control.
- Take a trip down memory lane. Remember your parents when they were young and healthy. Remember your children when they were tiny. Remember the good times before these difficult times. When you do that, you'll likely find a better balance in your life, because you'll start to recognize that life is cyclical and better times will come again.
- Arrange caregiving help early You need a holiday break too. To make sure you get some time off, make plans for holiday caregiving help as soon as possible.
The keys are to be realistic, not feel guilty over things you can’t control, and arrange help so you can take a break. Don’t worry about fitting the traditional holiday mold.
Most importantly: Let go of perfection.