Ready or not, the holiday season is quickly approaching. It seems as soon as the Halloween candy is passed out, twinkle lights and promises of holiday cheer descend upon our televisions and homes. If this season finds you caring for an aging loved one with a challenging medical condition or with serious needs, you may find it more difficult to feel excited about the upcoming family events and traditions. It’s okay to feel conflicted, and you certainly alone.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, approximately 44 million Americans provide some type of informal care to aging loved ones. No matter if you see your loved one daily to help with meal preparations or if you manage doctor appointments from miles away, you are an important part of the health of your aging loved one. This year, begin to plan for the holiday hustle and bustle early and with a focus on rest and joy. Here are a few of our favorite tips to get you there.
Simply Family Events and Traditions
Family gatherings are a crucial part of the holiday season, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to cancel all events due to your aging loved one’s challenges. However, you also shouldn’t feel like you have to attend each one either. This year, focus on simplifying your loved one’s calendar to focus on enjoying the moment instead of the busyness.
Try making only one family favorite holiday dish to share, instead of overloading your schedule with commitments to make multiple dishes for gatherings. Bring along your loved one to favorite gatherings, but don’t attempt to stay for too long. Instead, tell the family what hours your loved one will be there, and plan the event accordingly.
Prepare for Nutritional Needs
Thanksgiving typically kicks off the holiday eating season, but if your loved one has special dietary concerns, turkey day can be especially challenging or frustrating. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about any nutritional concerns, and plan to have a few options already prepared for that your loved one can enjoy. Sugar-free desserts are a wonderful option for people living with diabetes, and mashed potatoes with ground turkey can be a holiday-inspired meal easily eaten by seniors with swallowing difficulties.
Plan for Rest
Caregivers can become especially exhausted during the holiday season. Take time now to plan a few days, or an entire week, for yourself. You can use respite care services through CaringGivers to receive the support you need; our compassionate caregivers will assist your loved one with tasks and socialization while you spend time away resting, shopping, traveling, wrapping, or cooking – whatever fills your soul.
Get Lost in the Moment
The holidays are full of expectation, and if we aren’t careful, we can get swept away with what the season should look like instead of what it does look like. Make sure you are living your holiday season in the moment, thankful for the time to spend with your loved one. Your holiday may look different than in years past, but you can still enjoy it for the moments it is today. Practice gratitude and stillness, as well as having a sense of humor, and you will find your holiday season to be less stressful and more enjoyable.
Don’t wait until you are already exhausted from the holiday season. Begin your planning today by calling the team at CaringGivers. We are ready to customize a respite care plan for you and your loved one to make your holidays a bit brighter.