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Hope For The Holidays

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Prepare Others for Changes

Managing expectations and opening up the door for helpful family starts with a “pep” talk. If the extended family is unaware of the extra burden and stress a caregiver is handling, they are unable to be of help. It’s easy for children and grandchildren to swoop in as usual, expecting Mom’s best ham on the table, and not realize the effort it took to put it there.

A few small changes can make holiday caregiving easier: 

  1. Host a potluck meal.

  2. Explain a loved one’s circumstances or special needs to guests beforehand.

  3. Name tags may be helpful.

  4. Prioritize your activities.

  5. Keep visits shorter.

  6. Find creative ways to make gift giving less of a hassle.

Preparing the loved one with special needs for the holiday festivities can be as important as preparing the rest of the family. If someone has problems around sundown, celebrate earlier in the day and have them in a safe, comfortable place later on. Play familiar music and serve familiar foods that will not make them feel anxious or confused. Showing pictures of those coming to visit also will help ease any feeling of confusion and embarrassment if they can’t remember names and familial relationships.

The balancing act can be tricky for a caregiver, but with a little prep and a lot of patience, the holidays can be a fun time, giving a family the opportunity to make a lot of new memories to last a lifetime. Sometimes the way it’s “always been done” is not the way it “needs” to be done.


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