When a parent or grandparent begins to need help at home, the caregiving role is often given to a family member, usually one of their adult children. These “Family Caregivers” must play the role of son or daughter, while shifting into the subsequent role of companion and caregiver. This role becomes part of normal life, full of joy, reward, stress and discontent. When the pressure of the holidays is added to the mix, volatile feelings may emerge.
The holidays should be a time of celebration, of quality time spent with friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, because of busy schedules, coordinating the Christmas season can also be stressful. For family members who are also “Family Caregivers” for parents or grandparents, trying to balance both their families and the loved one they take care of during the holidays can have a negative effect on celebrations.
Caregivers may feel resentful towards other family members who they feel have not offered enough assistance. Managing care for someone who has a cognitive impairment or physical limitation may leave caregivers feeling that they will not be able to participate as fully as they would like in family gatherings. Already feeling overwhelmed with caregiving tasks, stressed-out caregivers may view traditional holiday preparations as more of a drain of precious energy than a joy.
The following actions may help make the holidays more enjoyable for you and your loved ones. Keep in mind that the holidays can, in fact, provide unique opportunities to seek better communication, connection and support from family and friends. Using these tips, you may be able to alleviate stress and improve holiday enjoyment.
Lend a hand: Caregivers may sometimes feel they cannot take part in as many family gatherings because of their caregiving obligations. You can make a difference by ensuring they have time for themselves. Offer to take over or coordinate transportation for a day or bring a meal to their house. You may be able to alleviate stress caused by many of the extra tasks that accumulate during the holidays.
Demonstrate the impact: It’s important for caregivers to know they are making a difference. Take a photo of your elderly relative enjoying Christmas and share it with their caregiver to show them the positive effects their presence has on those around them. Capture the smiles and the positive energy created because of their efforts.
Change it up: If a family gathering requires travel, consider bringing the event closer to home. Coordinate a visit to your mother’s home. This brings the family together in a new and exciting setting, but it also eliminates the need for the caregiver to plan your grandmother’s transportation. There’s also a chance that your grandmother cannot leave the house, which means neither can the caregiver. Bringing the celebration to them makes them feel included and important.
Say, “Thank You”: The family member who has been designated caregiver is filling that role for a number of reasons. It’s important to acknowledge the value they bring to the table, for everyone involved. It is often a role taken out of love, but it is not without sacrifice.
There are many ways to help a Family Caregiver give the best help and support possible to their loved one. Freudenthal Home Health offers an extensive list of private duty and Medicare-certified home health services that can assist your Family Caregiver in providing first-class care in the comfort of your loved one’s home. Contact Freudenthal Home Health today.