Family caregivers are probably feeling extra stressed during the holiday season. As if the holidays weren’t busy enough, caregivers are faced with their normal pressures and responsibilities as well.
Check out these tips for caregiving over the holidays to help make your job easier and your winter holidays go smoothly.
– Schedule activities for the day early in the day. Holidays can be tiring for everybody. But for someone who is struggling to find their place in an already confusing world, the stress and agitation increases as the day goes on. Saving a time of sitting and quietly visiting towards the end of the day can be helpful to everybody.
– If available, arrange respite care ahead of time. This can you give an opportunity to get a well-deserved vacation or personal break. Visit nearby Adult Day centers or memory care communities to determine if respite care is available and appropriate.
– Include your loved one in your holiday preparations. Focus on their strengths, and empower them to use their own capabilities to help with small tasks. It makes them feel that they are being useful, restoring a sense of meaning and purpose, while at the same time help to occupy them while you take care of other preparations.
– With decorating comes extra electrical cords. Secure all extra cords so that they are not a hazard. It’s a good idea to run them along the outside walls where they are not trip hazards and look discreet.
– Keep your loved one’s routine as close to normal as possible. If disruption in schedule and routine is a concern, consider hiring an in-home caregiver for a few hours or a few days to provide respite care in your loved one’s home.
– Talk to family and friends before they arrive to your house. Tell your guests in advance how to deal with any situations that might arise with the person you care for.
– Connect with support. Online message boards (such as http://community.aarp.org/) can be convenient and helpful. Seek support from a professional therapist or counselor if you feel you need it.
– Don’t forget to care for yourself. Make time for exercise such as yoga, meditation, or tai chi. Relax with aromatherapy or get outside for some Vitamin D. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you are surrounded by people, so scheduling in some “me” time will help to keep you centered and ultimately serve as a better caregiver during this time.