The holidays create a lot of extra to-dos and stress for many people caring for aging loved ones. Instead of letting that stress ruin a time meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, try these stress-busting tips!
Be flexible. The holidays are steeped in personal, family and religious traditions. Maintaining those is a lot of responsibility for family caregivers, who are often the adult children of aging parents. Diane K. Hendricks, social worker for the Center for Successful Aging, recommends: "As a family, ask yourself, 'What is important to continue and what can we adapt or let go?'"
Take care of yourself. You hear it every year – don't over-eat during the holidays and keep exercising. That's easier said than done, for sure. Make a concerted effort to schedule time for exercise and keep healthy snacks handy to help avoid sugary holiday treats.
Communicate your needs. Difficult family dynamics can take center stage during the holidays. Conflict may arise if family members can no longer continue their traditional holiday roles. Communicating is the best way to help smooth out problems and avert new ones.
Look for comic relief. Nothing lifts the spirit like a good laugh! Gather friends together for a game night or to watch a funny holiday movie.
Plan ahead. Approach your holiday preparations way in advance. Start making a list long before the season arrives of who can do what so that no one bears the brunt of the work.
Make time for your traditions. Don't let favorite traditions go by the wayside during the busy holiday season. If time or circumstances make them difficult to maintain, adapt them as necessary.
Be resourceful. Don't be a martyr. If someone wants to help, say "yes" to that casserole or offer to run an errand.
Saying "yes" to help can also mean taking advantage of our senior care services. Learn about five home care services that can help save your sanity this holiday season.
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