Handling Holidays as a Caregiver

Holidays can be a particularly stressful time for all of us but, as a caregiver, that stress can multiply making a time that should be filled with peace and joy to a time filled with frustration, resentment and anger. Here are a few tips on how to make the holiday season enjoyable and rewarding as a caregiver.

Take the Opportunity to Communicate

Remember that some of your family and friends may not know about the issues that your loved one is facing – or the challenges that you may be facing as a caregiver. Take the opportunity to let them know about the situation that you and your loved one is facing and answer any questions that they may have to help them better understand what’s happening. Best case scenario you might get some people stepping up to lend a hand; worst case you’ll have more emotional support and people to lean on.

Prepare a “Visiting Room”

Remember that your loved on may not be able to adapt to the family gatherings as well as they – or the rest of your visitors – might like to. Instead of making them miss the party, try to set them up with a visiting room for the evening. This room should be quieter than the rest of the house that allows other friends and family to visit with them. Just be careful not to keep them too far removed from the party – the last thing they’ll want is to feel isolated.

Create and Share Your Caregiver’s Wishlist

As we’ve discussed at length, caregiving is tough work and you shouldn’t be shy about asking for help. Take some time this holiday season and create a caregiver’s wishlist and share it with your friends and family. No one is ever shy about asking sharing their holiday wishlists – you shouldn’t be shy about sharing your caregiver wishlist either. What should you ask for? I’m sure you have your own list but, if you need a starting point, think about some of these:

  • Respite. Remember, it’s not bad to ask for time off. Whether it means that a family member takes over for a day sometime in the beginning of the year or finding some assistance in getting the day to day tasks accomplished, don’t forget that you deserve it!
  • Home Repairs. Have some work that needs to get done around the house? Finding the time to get to those repairs can certainly be difficult. Add them to your caregiver’s wishlist and see how many undercover handy-people you have in your circles.
  • Personal Pampering. As a caregiver you definitely deserve a little pampering. Can’t afford an hour long massage or facial? Put it on your wishlist!

Your holidays might be a bit more effort as a caregiver but they don’t have to be overly frustrating.