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Strategies for Special Holidays
The holidays can be a time of
renewal - renewal of friendships through visits and
cards, renewal of family relationships through
gatherings and shared meals, and renewal of one’s faith.
But the holidays also are a time that can be
particularly challenging for a caregiver. It is a time
during which the changes in one’s life are highlighted
and there are additional demands placed upon on an
already stressed life.
The holidays are always a whirlwind and this is
especially true for caregivers. During the holidays it
is important for caregivers to seek a balance - between
caring for someone else and caring for oneself; between
celebrating good memories of past holidays while not
dwelling on what might have been lost. Here are ideas to
keep in mind for both the caregiver and the care
receiver as the holiday season arrives:
Ideas for the Caregiver:
1. Don’t try to do it all. In the past you may have
prepared Christmas dinner for 20 and created hand-made
gifts for all of your relatives. Ask other members of
the family to carry on specific family traditions.
Dividing the responsibility will help you manage your
2. Don’t attempt to travel long distances by car if your
loved one is not used to it and tires easily. You will
both be exhausted by the time you reach your
destination, and you will have a difficult time enjoying
3. Ask family or friends to provide respite care. Make
time to enjoy holiday decorations or window shopping.
Just a few hours of time by yourself or with a friend
can be renewing and help combat a sense of isolation.
4. Avoid comparisons with past holidays. It is often
emotionally draining to look upon change as loss. “Life
is change” can be a helpful concept to hold onto.
5. Create new traditions that can be carried on year to
year, rather than dwelling on old traditions that your
loved one can no longer participate in.