The holidays can be a stressful time for many people. Between gift shopping, decorating, holiday parties, and family commitments, sometimes it feels like there’s almost no time left to actually enjoy the season. But when you add in the stress of caring for an elderly family member, the holidays can quickly turn into an exhausting nightmare. Of course, this isn’t ideal. The holidays should be a time for connecting with loved ones, sharing cherished family traditions, and enjoying everything this special time of year offers. This is all still possible, even if you’re a family caregiver. It just takes a little mindfulness and forethought. Here’s how you can get started.
It’s easy to get pulled in a thousand different directions during the holidays. But if you’re caring for a loved one, you need to let go of any feelings of obligation you have and tend to your needs first. That might mean saying no to certain holiday party invitations, or declining to host a big family gathering. Even if these are traditional activities, you need to focus on preserving your energy and positive mood. After all, there’s someone depending on you to be your healthy best.
Pick Your Battles
Family conflict is a common component of many holiday gatherings as years of pent-up resentment and frustration boil over. If you’re a family caregiver, you may also hold some resentment for family members you feel aren’t doing their fair share of the work. Sometimes avoiding holiday stress means picking your battles carefully no matter how valid your feelings may be. You can try clearing the air well in advance of the holidays, so your family gatherings can be more enjoyable. Other times, you can refuse to engage with certain people you know will trigger your negative emotions or reactions. Remember, this isn’t about winning. Instead, it’s about protecting your emotional reserves so you can take care of yourself.
Focus on What Really Matters
The holidays are important to different people for very different reasons. Some enjoy exchanging gifts, others enjoy decorating, others want to spend as much time as possible with family. If you’re caregiving during the holiday season, you won’t have an abundance of free time. So prioritize the activities and events that will bring you and your family the most enjoyment.
Ask for Help
Perhaps most importantly, the holidays are a great time to ask for a little extra help. Too often, family caregivers don’t seek out support because they feel the responsibility belongs to them alone. As a result, people who may be eager to help don’t pitch in because they don’t know they’re needed. Maybe you’d enjoy an afternoon off to run a few errands or go holiday shopping? Or, if you do decide to host a family gathering, ask people who will be attending to pitch in. It’s important to let go of the notion that you need to do it all. Instead, do what you can, and ask for support in the other areas.
Focus on Finding Holiday Joy
Even amidst the ongoing stress that comes with family caregiving, it’s possible to replace stress with joy during the holidays. If you live in Arizona and need a bit of outside help during this time of year, Generations Home Care is here. We offer a full range of in-home care and support services which help individuals of all ages, needs, and challenges remain safe and independent living within their own home. Services range from short-term to around-the-clock care. 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. We take a holistic approach and emphasize a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home program (for safe discharge).
- Post-operative care (short-term care during recovery period).
- Non-medical life management services (for persons 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, a loved-one and/or your patients or clients, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.