The holidays should be a time of celebration and relaxation. However, as a family caregiver, you have extra planning and coordination to do over the holidays, as you account for your aging loved one. While you cannot predict everything that will happen, by planning ahead you can set reasonable expectations and rest assured that you are prepared for anything. To help make things less difficult, we’ve outlined some important tips for getting through a stressful holiday season as a family caregiver.
5 Ways to Manage the Holidays as a Family Caregiver
Set expectations for family and friends: Make sure to communicate early on with those visiting this holiday so they can anticipate any changes and be mindful of your needs. They will be excited to see and spend time with you and your loved one. Your role is to keep them informed as to:
- The best time of day to visit
- Any new or serious health conditions
- Foods to avoid bringing to the house
- Any severe changes in health
- Any physical or mental limitations
Plan events and activities around your loved one: It’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday activities that can be outdoors or across town. Make sure you investigate whether there will be a large crowd or not, if there are any health risks to these events, and any other specific considerations. If you’re looking for some suggestions, check out our blog 10 Great Holiday Activities to Do with Your Older Loved Ones and 5 Unique Family-Friendly Holiday Games.
Prepare your loved one: Depending on your aging loved one’s condition – work with them to prepare for the holidays. This can be a nice opportunity to get a haircut, new outfits, etc. Don’t be afraid to discuss in detail who is coming and what you will be doing so that there are no surprises.
Take advantage of the family gatherings: This time of year is full of family get-togethers that are ripe for in-person conversations. You can use this time to discuss some difficult topics such as end-of-life care or general financial and/or legal topics.
Ask for help: This is not the time to do everything on your own – ask assistance from family and friends to do the shopping, cooking, wrapping of presents, and other errands that come up during the holidays. Consider respite care and learn how to accept help from others. As a family caregiver, you need to get some help and rest, especially during this stressful time of year.
To help manage these busy days ahead, follow our suggestions above. Take action and start planning now. Setting reasonable expectations and having open communication is essential for a smooth holiday season