As Christmas approaches, the Long Term Care Authority of Enid Area Agency on Aging offers ideas on ways caregivers can reduce stress during the holidays.
This time of year brings the joys of decorating, giving and receiving gifts and meeting friends and family around sit-down meals.
But for caregivers of an elderly or ill loved one, according to an LTCA press release from Enid AAA, the holiday season can also bring the stress of hosting well-meaning family and friends who wish to celebrate with that loved one. .
“There are always more things to do,” said Twila Doucet, LTCA Caregiver Coordinator at Enid AAA. “There are always people who want to come and visit that loved one, especially at Christmas, and so (caregivers) have extra things to do like extra cooking to do and extra people in their homes – just a lot. more things besides everyday things.
Enid AAA’s LTCA has listed some ideas to help caregivers reduce the extra stress that the holiday season can bring:
• Keep the guest list small. If your loved one is the matriarch or the patriarch of the family, the chances that the whole family will want to spend the holidays with your loved one is probably high.
• However, it may be necessary to turn a once large family occasion into a much simpler reunion or even a few smaller gatherings for you and your senior.
• Suggest that the large family reunion be organized by another parent. Now that your loved one has grown up, it may be time to move the family reunion from their home to that of a child, grandchild, or other close family member.
• Change the way you shop. Instead of battling the holiday crowds to shop for gifts or for groceries and other basics, try shopping online.
• Ask for help. If you still feel a little overwhelmed by the added hustle and bustle of a vacation, don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends for help.
• Keep in touch with other caregivers. Taking a break from work to talk with other caregivers who are in similar situations can both relieve your stress and provide you with a way to seek coping advice.
• Take care. Remember to take time for your own needs.
• Focus on what is most meaningful. Remember, not everything has to be perfect.
Caregivers, Doucet said, need to take care of them year-round, whether it’s applying for the LTCA program of the Enid AAA Caregiver Respite Program or asking someone else to. prepare Christmas dinner.
“If (caregivers) don’t take care of themselves, then they can’t take care of their loved one,” she said.