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The holiday season is upon us. And while the holidays can produce special moments and evoke wonderful memories of times spent with our loved ones, they can also be a very stressful time.
For caregivers already dealing with the many responsibilities of caring for a loved one, the holiday season can seem almost overwhelming. It is possible to not only survive the season, but even enjoy it. Here are a few things to keep in mind as the holiday chaos approaches:
• Be Flexible – You might not be able to do everything you have done on past holidays or adhere strictly to every family tradition, but you can still create new memories by adapting to new conditions. Be open to change and make the most of the time you do have.
• Be Inclusive – Make sure your loved one is still part of the celebration. That can be a challenge if you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, but there are still ways to include them in the festivities. For some specific examples, check out the National Institute on Aging’s “Alzheimer’s Caregiver Tips: Holiday Hints.”
• Be Realistic – Set limits on how much you can do and communicate that to friends and relatives, making sure they understand that your caregiving duties may limit what you can do for the holidays.
• Be Aware of Help Available – You don’t have to go through this alone. Take advantage of time with friends and family to let them know what you are going through and what kind of help you may need. There is also professional help available. Check out our Helpline page for numbers you can call. The Alzheimer’s Association also offers a 24/7 helpline for information and support at 1-800-272-3900.
For more information to help you through the holidays, check out our Q&A from last year with Natick VNA‘s Judith Boyko on handling the holidays while caring for a loved one with dementia, as well as BayPath Elder Services Caregiver Specialist Alicia Rego‘s holiday tips on her Wellness Wall on this site.
Family Caregiver You can also find more information in the Family Caregiver Alliance’s “Caregiving and the holidays: From stress to success” guide and AARP’s “10 Tips for Caregivers During the Holidays.”
And finally, from all of us here at CaregivingMetroWest.org, please have a happy and safe holiday season.