Holidays can be stressful for older adults who are cared for by adult children or others.
But they can be just as stressful for those who provide the care. Caregivers are often neglected throughout the year, and holidays can be particularly difficult for them. Not only do they have to deal with the typical activities and planning that comes with holidays, but caregiving is a continuous responsibility that often requires 24/7 attention.
Caregivers may not have the time to attend to their own personal needs or desires at this time. They don’t have the time or energy left over to do the things that many others enjoy during the holidays.
As we approach the holidays, think about some of the ways you can help alleviate the stress and strain for caregivers you may know. Consider some of these possibilities:
- Schedule a time to provide care so caregivers can get out and do some shopping or get some cooking done, or just allow them some time to rest and recharge. Don’t simply “offer” to help but make it a scheduled event so it actually happens.
- Prepare a meal to help out but be sure to take any dietary restrictions into consideration as needed. Providing a meal for a caregiver and the person they care for can make a huge difference in the caregiver’s day.
- Offer to do some shopping for the caregiver. Many caregivers are often too tired to battle the crowds and it may be helpful for you to do the running around for them. Or perhaps you can drive them where they need to go for a change and allow them to sit back and let you handle the driving.
- Plan a time to visit and help a caregiver wrap her/hisholiday gifts, or simply schedule time to do all of the wrapping for her or him.
- Make it a point to stop by and help caregivers decorate for the holidays. If they celebrate Christmas, they may want help with a Christmas tree or other holiday decorations. Giving the caregiver an hour or two of your time to help with this activity can make it more fun and easier.
- Drop by with a special care package that contains items such as coffee, home-baked goods, magazines, or other items. Let caregivers know they are appreciated and valued – especially during this time of year.
- Send a greeting card of cheer to remind the caregiver they are loved and thought about too.
- Rake leaves or help clear the lawn of debris for caregivers – they often have little time left over after caregiving to take care of these responsibilities. The lawn may need a final mowing before cold weather really sets in.
Caregivers give 100% of themselves to care for the person requiring attention and care. But they often neglect themselves. That’s why it’s so important to take care of caregivers too – especially during the holiday season when everyone gets so busy.
The small gestures or amount of time you spend with a caregiver can make all of the difference in the world to them and the people they care for. Make a difference this holiday season.