Happy Holidays; or is it when your caring for an aging loved one? The holidays can add extra stress on family caregivers with trying to care for loved ones, decorate, buy presents, and find down time. When you are caring for an aging loved one during the holidays it is especially important to ask for extra help. The holidays are a time we feel too pressured to do to0 much for others and not enough time for ourselves. Resources are low because even the hired caregivers want time off over the holidays. The stress can become overwhelming and begin to harm your health. By following a few tips you will have a successful holiday season.
Maintaining a sense of familiarity with the loved one you are caring for is very important. This helps to reduce the stress for both of you. Confusion with so many activities brings out the worst in us. If you keep your care needs consistent and prioritize the activities that are most important you will reduce your stress. Focus on the strengths and capabilities of aging loved ones with what they can do to participate in festive activities. Keeping loved ones engaged will help reduce the risk for accidents.
When decorating your home try to keep the same furniture pattern in your home. Moving furniture can confuse a loved one with memory issues or cause safety hazards for individuals with limited mobility. It is important to decorate for the holidays but keep the decorations at a minimum. Avoid the use of extra extension cords needed for lights, they can be a fall hazard.
Reduce the number of guests who visit especially all at the same time. This helps lessen the amount of noise and confusion. The holidays will flow a lot smoother if everyone understands the needs and limitations of your aging loved one. It is okay to say “No that time won’t work, afternoons are not a good time because Mom has to take a nap.” Most importantly make your loved one feel secure and protected by keeping their routine as normal as possible. Incorporating the activities they remember doing in past holidays such as holiday music and singing will bring smiles to everyone’s face.
May you be blessed with the joy of family and friends, and good health this Holiday Season.
From the staff of Family Caregivers Network, Happy Holidays!