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Hope For The Holidays
Caregivers are stretched to the max during the
majority of the year, but during the holiday season,
this stress can take on an entirely different meaning.
Expectations and Traditions
Caregivers must first and foremost be realistic. Our
culture tends to paint a perfect holiday picture of
families gathered around a fireplace, drinking eggnog
and laughing happily. That happens, of course, but it
doesnít show the caregiver in the background frantically
trying to keep it all together and meet each
generationís expectations of holiday bliss.
Caregivers must acknowledge that being realistic will
save a lot of undo stress. If a loved one needs extra
attention, especially with the holidays, whether it be
visits, trips out and about, or even just family party
hopping, it can be exhausting for caregiver and loved
Many times, large gatherings can be overwhelming for a
loved one, so a caregiver may suggest family members
visit on an individual basis, spending quieter quality
time together. This is especially true for loved ones
Make a list of traditions, and prioritize which ones can
realistically be held onto and which ones perhaps must
be adapted or eliminated. Itís not failure if some get
skipped, or changed to accommodate a familyís new needs
and dynamics. Every new holiday will bring with it new
memories of times with loved ones, regardless of the
whereís and howís.
Guilt is something a caregiver struggles with over the
holidays, and usually ties into the level of care they
are providing. Itís time consuming to be aware and
provide for someone elseís needs, as well as make time
for visiting family members, travel they must do, etc.
Almost all caregiving advice articles mention the
importance of asking for help. Yes, itís important to do
year-round; but during the holidays, even more so.
One part of getting help is making sure the caregiver
gets enough sleep, exercise and good nutrition. Itís
difficult to take care of others when not taking care of
yourself first. Clichť, yes, but true nonetheless.
The holiday season is a time of joy and family, and a
loved one will appreciate that no matter how itís
celebrated or if things may change. Keeping traditions
is important, but a caregiver must realize new
traditions can begin at any time.