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Nov 08, 2023

Holiday Stress Busters for Family Caregivers

Senior receiving present from caregiver

The decorating. The parties. The shopping.

Even the general hustle and bustle of the holiday season can take its toll on family caregivers - adding a layer of stress to manage that can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Check out these positive ways to keep holiday stress at bay, from professionals at the Home Instead Center for Successful Aging.

Be flexible
The holidays are steeped in personal, family and religious traditions. That’s a lot of responsibility for family caregivers. Ask yourself: “What is important to continue, and what can we adapt or let go?”

Communicate your needs
Difficult family dynamics can take center stage during the holidays. If family members can no longer continue their traditional holiday roles, that may cause conflict. Communicating is the best way to help smooth out problems and avert new ones.

Look for comic relief
Nothing lifts the spirits like a good laugh. New movies abound during the holidays. Find a comedy and gather your friends for an afternoon or evening at the movies. Or watch a well-liked show at home. Popcorn required!

Plan ahead
Many people start holiday shopping weeks in advance. Why not approach holiday preparations in much the same way? Before the season arrives, start making a list of who can do what, so that no one is overwhelmed with work.

Make time for your traditions
No doubt, you have carried over family traditions. But you’re just as likely to have generated new family holiday activities. Don’t let those go by the wayside during the busy holiday season. It can lead to conflict in your own family.

Be resourceful
Take the offer for help (or ask for help!). If someone wants to help, say “yes” to that casserole or an offer to run an errand. Saying “yes” to help can also mean taking advantage of professional in-home senior care services.

Too Much of a Good Thing Can Add to the Stress
An older adult also can feel overwhelmed during the holidays with too much of a good thing. Consider simplifying holiday traditions to make them a little easier for aging adults to manage.

Too much activity
Some conditions of aging, such as dementia, may cause agitation in older adults. Tune into the amount of activity that surrounds a senior during the holidays and adapt as necessary.

Too many unrealistic expectations
Families often function best when they are following their usual roles at the holidays. However, that isn’t always realistic. If a loved one has suffered a health decline, he or she may not be up to the family get-together. Try to get family members aligned with setting realistic expectations.

Too much noise
Hearing impairment can make it difficult for older adults to understand conversations. If you’re hosting a holiday party, take Grandpa into a quiet room and ask family to visit him individually so he can get the most from conversations.

Too many visitors
Those living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia could react negatively to the presence of too many people. Take care not to turn a positive holiday party into a negative event for the older loved one by subjecting them to too many visitors.

Respite Care Services Near Me

Whether you need respite care to get a good night’s sleep or 24-hour home care, services and care plans can be tailored to meet your family’s needs.
Caregiver arriving at senior’s home

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