Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of being a caregiver during the holiday season?
You can still enjoy family time and festivities if you’re willing to think ahead, says Alicia Mendoza, geriatric care manager at Aging Care Advocates of Tampa. She offers the following suggestions:
• Set realistic goals for events or parties. Which ones do you really want to attend? Don’t aim too high.
• Call ahead to a restaurant or facility you are visiting so you know what to expect. Ask about the menu, so you know what to order for you and your loved one.
• Adapt to the situation. Will it be easier to attend an event if you take a wheelchair and not the usual cane to move about? Make things work.
• Don’t try to please everyone. If you just can’t handle going out or participating in a gathering, that is OK. It’s also fine if you can’t find the time or money to buy presents for friends and family.
• Let somebody else host the whole clan for Thanksgiving or Christmas. If your home is the gathering spot, say yes to others who offer to cook the turkey and side dishes.
• Take a break and get away to do Christmas shopping or for a wellness day. Accept if someone offers to watch your loved one, or look for an adult day care center. Have a ready-to-hand-off notebook that shares the daily routine of meals, medications, etc., for friends who offer to help.
• The holidays will continue to be tough after your loved one dies. Remember to grieve. Caregivers whose days were filled with activity need to seek support, whether it’s from support groups or friends. Family should be inviting, but not overly pushy.