Tips for Caregivers During the Holidays
December 17, 2020
Caregiving for a loved one or family member with a chronic or terminal illness is never an easy endeavor. But during the holidays, caregivers may feel increasingly overwhelmed and emotional. Here are a few practical tips to help caregivers make it through the holidays while avoiding stress and guilt, and making the most of the time they have with their loved one.
Simplify Your Holiday Plans
Many adults feel the pressure each year to make the holiday season perfect for their families. But when caring for a loved one who is dying, it can be a daunting task to balance caregiving responsibilities with holiday planning, shopping, decorating, and cooking. As a caregiver, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. Give yourself permission to simplify your holiday plans. Some caregivers might choose to order takeout or delivery instead of cooking an elaborate meal. Others might decide to scale back their families’ gift-giving plans, or choose not to exchange gifts at all. Enjoy the aspects of the holidays that bring you and your family joy, and be deliberate about cutting back the activities that just cause stress. Simplifying your plans will allow you to truly appreciate what matters during the holiday season: spending time with your loved ones.
The holiday season can be a busy time of year, but don’t forget to slow down and take some time to care for yourself. Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. If you’re able, try to give yourself at least 15 minutes of caregiving-free time each day, when you can take a walk outside, engage in a creative activity, or simply relax. Self-care also means knowing when to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask family members to help out and take on some caregiving responsibilities. Aside from providing direct care, they can also help with household chores or cooking.
Get Support from Other Caregivers
As you care for your loved one at the end of their life, connecting with others who are in the same boat can be helpful, especially around the holidays. Other caregivers can provide the support and guidance you might need, and they can share tips for how to get through the holiday season as a caregiver. Online forums and virtual support groups are both excellent options for getting to know other caregivers.
With these tips in mind, family caregivers will be able to cherish the holiday season with their loved ones and enjoy the precious time that they have together.