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Tips For Family Caregivers Navigating the Holidays | Generations Home Care
family caregivers

Caregiving for a family member is difficult work any time of year, but the holidays add undeniable stress to an already stressful situation. In addition to the daily responsibilities of making sure your loved one is happy, healthy, and well taken care of, now you must also navigate the specific needs of the holiday. Do you put up lights? How many of the decorations do you want to dig out of the garage? Then there are presents and family dinners to schedule. And let’s not forget basic human needs like sleeping and eating and exercise. It’s a lot. More falls on the shoulders of family caregivers than most realize. 

Feeling Overwhelmed During the Holidays is Natural

The holidays should be fun and filled with cheer. It is a time to connect with family, celebrate the ones we love, and engage in the joy of cookies, carols, and holiday lights. The stress of caring for a loved one is demanding enough. The added pressure of the holidays thrown into the mix can lead to a feeling of overwhelm. This is totally natural. But when the pressure falls on you to be responsible for the holiday cheer, the stress can set in pretty quick. It is important to remind yourself that you are not alone. With over 60 million family caregivers in North America, you are one of many working harder than most can understand, often by putting the needs of others before your own.

This holiday season, find a way to honor the hard work you do and make sure to leave some space for joy during the holiday season. Start by acknowledging your feelings. An essential first step for anyone coping with stress and overwhelm is the simple act of sharing how you are feeling. Talking to a friend or another family member can be a huge relief. There are also caregiver support groups available to help you connect with others walking in your shoes.

How to Make the Holidays Work for You

If the holidays are something you enjoy but you are having difficulty figuring out how to juggle it all along with your caregiving responsibilities, it is okay to do less. Find ways to celebrate in smaller yet still significant ways:

  • Watch your favorite holiday movies.
  • Listen to Christmas music.
  • Bake cookies and give the extras away to friends and neighbors.
  • Have fun putting together a holiday card and maybe even a newsletter to inform all those distant friends and family what you have been doing with your year.
  • Instead of making a big holiday meal from scratch, order food from your local grocery store or restaurant.
  • Create new traditions to suit you. 

The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it all. Find what brings you joy and focus on that. And don’t forget to ask for help.

Caregivers Also Need to Care for Themselves

Perhaps the greatest gift you can give yourself this holiday season is time off just for you. Seek help in the form of respite care services and spend an afternoon at the movies or the spa. Take a drive and sing out loud to the radio. Or maybe just find a cozy space to be alone with a good book and a quiet mind knowing that your loved one is being cared for.

The holidays can be especially difficult for family caregivers when the family traditions and memories intersect with current needs. During this time of year, it is challenging to be the one responsible for a parent who is no longer the vibrant person they once were. The holidays will likely make you yearn for a life with fewer obligations, one in which there is more time to enjoy spending time with your family. 

Caring for a family member is a rewarding experience in many ways. Still, as a family caregiver, you carry the weight of making the holidays special for your loved ones and yourself. Be sure to celebrate in a way that brings you some joy in addition to spreading joy to those you love. Family caregivers give so willingly and with such grace that they are often people with lives and loves of their own who get overlooked. This holiday season is a perfect time to take advantage of respite care. You can even ask for it as a holiday gift. Remember, if you don’t take time for yourself, you are no help to those who need you.

About Generations Home Care

Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and more independent life.

Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.

Our Specialty Services Include:

  • Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
  • Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
  • Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
  • Veteran’s connection to care program.
  • Live-in services and couples care.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.

About the author - Josh Friesen

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