Information and resources that support your role in caring for a loved one.

People associate Thanksgiving as being a family-centric day filled with more food than a typical family, extended or not, can eat. People travel far and wide, making the Thanksgiving weekend one of the most congested travel times of the year. It is not uncommon for people to put tremendous pressure on themselves to carry out family traditions and have or attend a big gathering, no matter their current life situation.

If you are a Family Caregiver, it is more than likely that you do not have time to add more tasks into your day. Things like extra food shopping, cleaning the home for company, preparing a large meal are hard to add to an already full day. Being invited to another family member’s house for the holidays isn’t always a great alternative to hosting since long trips are hard on anyone, especially for the frail, disabled, or elderly.

As a caregiver myself, I have learned that it is OK to break tradition. Keep gatherings small so as not to overwhelm your care recipient. Cook less or order a catered meal. If you do invite family over, tell them that casual, comfy clothes are encouraged, so you don’t add the pressure of having to get your care recipient dressed up (or on the flip side, it would spare your loved one embarrassment from being the only one in pajama’s.) Maybe suggest a pot-luck dinner as a new family tradition. If your family is far away, use a video chat app to share a few moments without the stress of travel.

By definition, Thanksgiving Day is an annual 
national holiday celebrating the harvest and 
other blessings of the past year.

In the twenty-first century, the terms harvest and blessings can be combined into one word, gratitude. Rather than focus on what you don’t have or what didn’t happen, think about the good things in your life. Gratitude should be kept simple. It can be as fundamental as having a roof over your head, a hot meal on the table, or a good friend.

But most of all, family caregivers should take one moment in the day to appreciate yourself. It is your unconditional love and selflessness that is bringing peace and comfort to someone you love. 

Family Caregivers are unsung heroes. If you don’t make the big meal or have every room in the house cleaned, that is OK! Remind yourself of the things you readily sacrifice so that you can give your time to your loved one. Most likely, if your care recipient wrote a gratitude list, you would be on the top of it! 

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at BayPath!


This Caregiving Tip has been provided by:
Debra McDonagh, Social Media Coordinator at BayPath Elder Services, Inc. You can reach Debra at (508) 573-7204 or dmcdonagh@baypath.org.

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