Holidays are tough on caregivers
Because the holidays are an especially tough time for caregivers, we’ve got three tips to help you eliminate unrealistic expectations, reduce guilt and stress, and get a well-deserved break.
1. Give yourself permission to do less
The holidays aren’t about fancy decorations or multi-course meals. It’s about feeling good and spending time with people you care about. This year, remind yourself that it’s absolutely OK that your house is light on decor, you didn’t send holiday cards, or that you’ll be enjoying a simple meal with a small group.
In fact, celebrating the holidays in low-key ways might be what’s best for your senior. Or it might be what’s best for YOU, given all your caregiving responsibilities. No matter what, don’t pressure yourself to fit the holiday stereotypes that you see on TV.
2. Know that you’re not responsible for your senior’s mood
As much as you want to your older adult to have a happy and special holiday, you can only do so much. Some seniors won’t recognize or understand what’s happening, some stubbornly remain in a negative mood, and some just won’t appreciate your efforts.
If your older adult doesn’t enjoy the holiday cheer, it’s NOT because you didn’t try hard enough or that you failed. You’ve done your best to create a joyous holiday under difficult circumstances and if your older adult can’t or won’t get into a happy mood, it’s absolutely not your fault.
You’re taking care of the things you can control, so don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up over things you simply can’t control.
3. Arrange caregiving help early
You need a holiday break too. To make sure you get some time off, make plans for holiday caregiving help as soon as possible.
If you use a hired caregiver, talk with them about their holiday schedule so you can both plan ahead. For example, if they’re taking Christmas Day off, perhaps they could work on the 24th or 26th so you could take one of those days off.
If you have family or friends visiting for the holidays, talk with them in advance to let them know you need them to help with caregiving so you can get a few hours or days of much-needed rest. If multiple people are coming, schedule each person for a few hours or a day each so you get more time to recharge.
Even if you’re caring for an older adult, it’s still possible to have an enjoyable and less stressful holiday season. The keys are to be realistic, not feel guilty over things you can’t control, and arrange help so you can take a break. Don’t worry about fitting the traditional holiday mold.
Recommended for you:
- The Big List of Gift Ideas for Seniors
- Caregiving During the Holidays: 6 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Family
- How to Prepare Family Before Their Holiday Visit with Seniors
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Seniors Guide