Providing care for an older loved one means each day may be filled to the brim with practical to-dos that simply must be done. Preparing meals, ensuring the senior’s personal care needs are met and that medications are taken, running errands and providing transportation to medical appointments and activities, cleaning the house…the list goes on and on. And while the holiday season is certainly a time of joy, it can also be a source of stress for busy family caregivers whose plates are already overflowing. The idea of a stress-free holiday spent simply enjoying time with those you love may seem unimaginable, but there are steps you can take to make it a reality!
How Can I Reduce Stress During the Holidays?
The key is to set realistic goals and in understanding that your holiday season may not look anything like the picture-perfect portrayals you see in the movies – and that’s ok! Trying to achieve a fairytale version of the holidays, filled with nothing but sugar plums and smiles, is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment and caregiver guilt.
Instead, take a realistic approach on how to instill joy in the holidays that fits with what’s most important to you and your loved ones. These tips can help:
- Simplify. You may have over-indulged in preparation for the season’s festivities during past holidays, causing mental and emotional drain. Scaling back can allow for just as memorable a holiday season. Selecting your favorite decorations and reminiscing about the good times, ordering your holiday meal instead of cooking and arranging a gift swap amongst family members are all great ways to lessen the load this year. The possibilities are endless – and can alleviate quite a bit of stress.
- Laugh. Laughter sometimes really is the best medicine, as the saying goes. Watching silly holiday comedies is a quick and easy way to spark joy. Invite the family over, pop some popcorn, heat up a pot of hot chocolate or apple cider, and settle in together for an evening of shared laughs. A quick Google search makes it easy to find tons of ways to enjoy family time during the holidays.
- Communicate. This is not the time to try to handle everything on your own. Let your extended family and friends know that you’re struggling with your caregiving duties and share specific ways that they can help. Too often, family caregivers shoulder all of the responsibilities on their own, while the rest of the family assumes everything is under control. Being honest about your challenges allows others to step in and help, which benefits everyone involved.
Where Can I Turn for Caregiving Help?
The best way to alleviate stress for family caregivers is by partnering with a professional home care agency for respite care services. Respite care provides regular, routine breaks for family members, allowing them to take time away for their own self-care – something that is vitally important. Respite caregivers are fully trained and experienced in senior care needs and can provide the high-quality care older adults need and deserve, while also providing the added benefit of a companion for socializing and friendship.
Contact Nightingale Homecare, a leading provider of Phoenix in-home care, to inquire about our respite care services in the surrounding areas during the holiday season and beyond! We’re always here to help. You can reach us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.