Holiday stress is almost a given for all parties involved. Travel delays, heavy traffic, crowded stores, the anticipation of family gatherings where some members are at odds with one another, longer to do lists, aggravated grief and depression, and extra parties, programs and events to attend: all of this and more is cause for much anxiety and increased stress levels during the last two months of the year.
Now, imagine how caregivers feel.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other aging-related issues means that the holidays are just another challenge to add to the list, another thing that serves to overwhelm those who are already dealing with the pressure that caregiving adds to everyday life.
Respite care is a wonderful solution, however, it is a resource that far too many caregivers overlook either because they feel there is no one else who can adequately care for their loved one, because they don’t know enough about it, because they don’t feel they have the time or energy to make the necessary arrangements, because of guilt, or because they cannot afford it.
In a previous post, we highlighted a fantastic idea generated by home care agencies in the Philadelphia region: gift certificates that gave the recipient a few hours of respite care. Even if an agency or senior care facility near you does not provide formal certificates, you could certainly offer the caregiver in your life the opportunity to take some time off, either by offering to provide care yourself, or by footing the respite care bill.
Being the best caregiver means taking care of you too. This holiday season, if you’re a caregiver, schedule some time for a break so you don’t burn out. Learn more about respite care here.