Respite Helps Caregivers Deal with Holiday Stress

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 15 November 2011

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.

There are 10 Comments about this post

  1. sue says,

    respite care for my mom would be really great, but it would be a HUGE set back for her. folks with alzheimers need a predictable routine. i tried it and mom freak. everything was too new..new faces..all too much,,not worth it even though i would love it


    on 15 November 2011 / 4:45 PM

  2. Sue, that is the challenge with respite for those with Alzheimer’s, to be sure. Do you have family members that could help?


    on 15 November 2011 / 5:12 PM

  3. JENNETT says,

    I’m a caregiver to a semi-invalid husband. I love my husband dearly, but the responsibility day in and day out, without relief, and without being able to go shopping, go to a movie, nothing! The same routine for months and years on end – it drives me up the wall. It literally makes me sick. Children are too far away to help. I’ve had to turn to a state agency for help, and it is a GODSEND !!


    on 29 November 2011 / 7:58 PM

  4. Myrna says,

    Jennette, what state agency did you turn to for help. I am in the same situation & I could really use some help.


    on 29 November 2011 / 9:03 PM

  5. Vicki says,

    I agree with the post. My mother is showing signs of dementia and became extremely confused when she went to my sister’s for Thanksgiving. Although it was a break for me, the aftermath was hard to deal with.


    on 29 November 2011 / 9:24 PM

  6. Yes, the aftermath of something like that is so difficult to deal with, Vicki, despite the break. Be sure to check out our posts and resources about dealing with these situations/stressors. Thanks for your comment; our best to you and your family as you care for your mother.


    on 30 November 2011 / 8:57 AM

  7. Eldercare.gov is a great tool to help you find the agency in your city/state that can help. Hope you find what you need!


    on 30 November 2011 / 8:59 AM

  8. Jennett, the struggles and frustrations you’re describing are certainly valid and reflective of what many caregivers are going through. Caregiving is not easy! I’m glad to hear you were able to get help from a state agency. That is so important for your health and your husband’s. Thanks for stopping by the blog and sharing your thoughts.


    on 30 November 2011 / 9:01 AM

  9. renata says,

    hi i give all caregivers the glory im one i work with the adolescent autism dementia down syndrom you name it i do it i loved my job i just wish that we got paid more its kind of hard or the holidays because you care so much or your clients you wish you could bring them with your family wow it takes alot of patient to do what we do id like to thank anyone who gives up there time to take care of otheres and love what they do it takes a special person


    on 07 December 2011 / 11:39 PM

  10. Thanks for your comment. Caregivers certainly have a difficult job, but the work is so rewarding!


    on 08 December 2011 / 10:46 AM


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