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Eliminate Holiday Stress for Seniors with Tips from Nightingale Homecare

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Reduce holiday stress for seniors with these tips.

With the onset of the holiday season, many people find themselves suffering from anxiety and stress, and that applies to older adults as well. Before the holidays, it will be important for your elder loved one to evaluate coping skills and take stock of holiday expectations to ensure they are realistic. When people dread the holidays, it can often be because their inner experience is so different from what is being hyped. Remind your loved one to keep his or her normal routine, and follow these tips from the home care team at Nightingale Homecare to reduce holiday stress for seniors.

Financial Pressures

Financial issues can cause stress for the elderly on a fixed budget, even without the pressure of buying gifts for the holidays. The belief that they must purchase gifts for everyone can over-burden the elderly. Help your loved one set a spending limit and choose affordable, meaningful gifts. It’s also helpful to have a conversation with your loved one’s family and friends to set expectations and relieve this pressure for everyone. Some families choose to donate to a worthy organization, or spend time volunteering to bring the joy of the season to others less fortunate. This will give the holidays a greater meaning for all family members.

Time Pressures and Self-Care

Reinforce for your loved one that his or her life and routine shouldn’t be put on pause because of the holidays. Self-care is a potent remedy for stress, and the main ingredient in our overall wellbeing. Many elderly find comfort and stress-reduction in routine self-care measures. Set expectations in advance for holiday gatherings, prioritize the invitations and assist your elder loved one in planning for only those activities that bring joy and meaning. Continue to reinforce that your loved one should not neglect the need for exercise, a healthy diet, getting sufficient rest, and other self-care measures.

Dealing with Loss During the Holidays

Many of our elder loved ones feel lonely during the holidays, as in previous years they may have celebrated with a spouse or other loved ones who have since passed. Encourage the senior to express those feelings and convey your understanding if he or she chooses to forgo activities that may result in feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Practice Mindfulness

When your elder loved one feels stressed, encourage him or her to pause for a moment and discern what is happening within in that moment. Allow your loved one to observe his or her internal experience without judgement. Practicing mindfulness is a way to lessen the gap between the stressed-out version of ourselves and who we are when functioning at our optimal level. Since our thoughts so greatly impact our emotions and behaviors, this shift can play a significant role in decreasing stress. As the saying goes, “What you think, you become.”

Seek Help and Support

Encourage your loved one to share his or her feeling about the holidays. This can help with setting realistic expectations and talking through stressors. Feeling the support from family and friends can be extremely helpful in eliminating stress and loneliness, especially over the holidays. When our elder loved ones are exhibiting signs of profound stress, sadness or loneliness, therapy can help.

Nightingale Homecare, providers of the highest quality at home care Phoenix and the surrounding area has to offer, is also on hand to help alleviate holiday stress for seniors with customized home care solutions, allowing for the restored peace and enjoyment they deserve. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more!

Top 10 Ways to Combat Caregiver Stress

caregiver burnoutCaring for a senior loved one, in the minds of those who haven’t experienced it, may seem totally manageable. How hard can it be, after all? Leisurely meals, relaxing afternoons of naps, card games, maybe a stroll around the block, stopping to smell the flowers, making your own schedule…the relaxed pace in the life of a retired senior.

The reality is, however, that caregivers have been shown to have 23% more stress hormones than non-caregivers, along with 15% less antibody responses, according to the American Psychological Association. And if the senior loved one being cared for suffers from a chronic condition, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or COPD, the strain is even greater.

If you’re responsible for your elderly loved one’s care and are feeling heightened levels of stress (which can exhibit as irritability, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, trouble sleeping, or feelings of resentment towards the person in your care), try the following tips recommended by Helpguide.org:

  1. Share your concerns – and accept help. It’s important to let friends and family know what you’re going through and to enlist their help.
  2. Do something just for you. Devote at least one half-hour per day to spend on something you enjoy.
  3. Incorporate laughter. Laughter is a great stress-buster; choose humorous reading materials and TV shows, and talk with friends who lift your spirits.
  4. Boost your energy and mood. Surprisingly, exercising enhances your energy level, rather than depleting it, and improves your mood as well. Strive for at least 30 minutes each day.
  5. Stay nourished. While it may be tempting to grab quick meals and snacks high in sugar or caffeine, you’ll feel better longer by choosing fresh, wholesome foods like fruit, whole grains, lean meat and vegetables.
  6. Get away from it all. Even if it’s just going outside for a brief walk or shopping trip, make sure you’re getting away from home for periods of respite.
  7. Look on the bright side. In the midst of the challenges and struggles, find something positive about your caregiving role – the difference you’re making in your loved one’s life, or the strength of character you’re developing.
  8. Keep a broad perspective. As much time as caregiving may be taking, be sure to focus some energy on other outlets that bring meaning to your life.
  9. Make your own wellness a priority. You can best care for someone else when you’re in good health, so keep up with your own medical appointments and care.
  10. Count more sheep. Rather than cutting back on sleep to try to accomplish more, getting 8 hours of sleep reduces stress and improves your mood and energy levels.

Even the most devoted caregiver needs support to keep stress at bay. Nightingale Homecare offers Phoenix home care services that work in tandem with family caregivers, allowing for continuous, compassionate care for seniors and a time of rejuvenation for the family members providing their care. We invite you to call us at 602-504-1555 to learn more.

Posted in Caregiving on June 3rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Top 10 Ways to Combat Caregiver Stress