It can be a stressful time of year for the family who is caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, caring for someone who is recovering from a stroke, caring for someone who is wrestling with depression, or caring for someone struggling with vision loss or decreased mobility.
Being a caregiver is challenging all year round, but the holidays add an extra layer of stress.
Consider these tips for keeping your home a stress-free zone in the coming days (for the benefit of your children, relatives, the person you’re caring for, and of course, for you):
- Set aside a safe, quiet space in the home for escaping: when you need a break, when your loved one needs to rest, when a sibling who hasn’t seen Mom this way needs to cry.
- Be aware of your loved one’s non-verbal cues and anxiety level. The kids are playing with noisy toys, the adults are drinking egg nog and laughing loudly, the lights are twinkling, the carols are ringing: these aren’t bad things, but all together, they can be quite overwhelming to an individual with memory loss or other health issues.
- Set realistic expectations. If you are a caregiver, cut yourself some slack this year: don’t worry about decorating everything perfectly or baking dozens of cookies. Buy a pre-made Christmas ham, and request that visiting siblings and family members to bring a covered dish.
- Ask for help. Ask the kids to help you clean up or wrap the gifts. Ask your visiting siblings to help Dad with daily care tasks.
Get more tips via the #ElderCareChat 11/7/12 Recap: Managing Holiday Stress. Also, refer to Part 1 of this series here.