When Thanksgiving Is Just Another Caregiving Day

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 21 November 2012

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Some people are working, some have the day off. Others are loading the car or boarding a plane to visit family. Many are beginning dinner preparations.

Millions are caregiving. On a day like today, life isn’t all that different for caregivers, unless they’re anticipating the arrival of out-of-town family and friends. Unless a medical emergency happened in the middle of the night and they’re now forced to make a quick decision about senior care (a decision which, ideally, requires more time). Unless a loved one recently passed away and this will be the first holiday with an empty chair at the table. Unless the strain of 24-7 care has rendered the primary caregiver unable to do anything but make a reservation for dinner at a local restaurant.

Being a caregiver is a responsibility that doesn’t change when the calendar says “holiday.” You may want to travel to see family, but as the primary caregiver, you feel guilty for your desire to get away, afraid that something may happen when you’re gone.

If you’re a caregiver, you’re probably eager for the holidays to come and go, to get back to a routine that’s more consistent and predictable.

No matter what your caregiving circumstances are today, reach out. Reach out to another caregiver who may need encouragement. Invite her to join you for dinner. Reach out for help from family and friends, even if it’s just to clear the dishes so you can take a 2-hour nap after the meal has been served. Find a way to give yourself a break this Thanksgiving, and take time to be thankful for both the challenges and the joys of caregiving.



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