Caregiving and the holidays

Image: Caregiving and the holidays

In this session of caregiver tip Tuesday we look at ways to make your loved one feel comfortable during the holiday season.

The holidays are time for laughter, joy, food and family. It also can be a time for stress and frustration for many caregivers and those receiving care. Here are a few suggestions on how to make the holidays enjoyable for you and your loved one this year.

Provide a brief holiday greeting/note: this can be done via e-mail, an electronic newsletter or a holiday card. The update provides you with an opportunity to inform your friends and family about your loved one's condition prior to any holiday gathers. Doing so will drastically minimize the chances of your loved one's condition becoming the topic of discussion at holiday gathers, or having your loved one be bombarded with questions regarding their health.

If possible work with your loved one to devise the greeting so that they can decide what information they would and would not like to share. Highlight progresses, no matter how small or insignificant and where possible be honest about the wellbeing of your loved one.

Create a visiting room: If you plan to have a lot of people over for the holidays you may want to consider creating a visiting room. This room would be designated as a quiet area for your loved one to retreat to if they feel tired or are bothered by the noise. Friends and family can take turns visiting your loved one in this room. Alternatively if your loved one has limited mobility encourage your family and friends to takes turns visiting them in their room so that they do not feel isolated from the holiday festivities.

While the comfort of your loved one is your first priority, ensure that the holidays are also comfortable for you as the caregiver. It is common for many caregivers to feel anxiety or even resentment over the holidays due to seeing family members who they may feel haven't pulled enough weight or shown enough concern for their loved one.

To help make the holiday's enjoyable try not to hold a grudge: avoid feeling the need to be angry or upset at those who have not helped you with your caregiving. Instead speak with your family members regarding your caregiving needs and see whether there are opportunities for them to get involved in the New Year.


Family Caregivers Association website: