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Senior Caregiver Tips for Celebrating the Holiday Season

November 15, 2023

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With plenty of festivities to keep everyone’s spirits high, the holidays are truly the best time of the year. Families reunite to celebrate together and reconnect while partaking in beloved traditions. For many caregivers, the holidays can provide a bit of respite, knowing that family is there to help care for a loved one.

However, the holiday season is a busy time and can also add more stress for caregivers. Adding all the extra errands and planning to a regular routine can make it challenging to balance caregiving responsibilities.

At Franciscan Ministries, senior living in Illinois means having the peace of mind as a caregiver that your loved one will always have a safe place to find support and compassion. Our team is sharing senior caregiver tips to help you navigate the holiday season and experience more joy and less stress.

Simplify Holiday Activities

It’s essential to recognize that even though it’s the holiday season, perfection is not the goal when it comes to your family’s celebrations, especially if you’re serving as the primary caregiver for someone you love. Focus on what’s truly important during this time of the year: the joy of being together with family and friends rather than going all out with festivities. 

By simplifying your holiday activities, you can conserve your energy while still making things meaningful. For example, choose the most significant decorations to you and your loved ones, or ask a friend to help you decorate while you’re caring for your loved one. Rather than sending greeting cards via mail, try sending e-greetings or a few cards to the key people in your life.

Adjust Family Traditions

There might come a time when your family member isn’t able to participate in your usual holiday traditions, which can be an emotionally challenging situation for anyone. If this is the case, sit down with family and friends to plan newer, easier activities that your loved one can still participate in or create new traditions.

For example, if your loved one is unable to move around local community celebrations with ease, why not drive through a holiday light display instead or spend an evening watching your favorite holiday movies together? You can also simplify your holiday meals and gift-giving traditions to avoid extra stress for yourself and your loved one.

Prepare Coping Strategies 

If are any relatives are less than supportive about your caregiving responsibilities, you might need to spend some extra time before any family gatherings to prepare for potential conflicts that could arise. For example, if you’re hosting unhelpful or critical relatives during the holidays, ask another family member if they could host instead, explaining how it’s crucial to limit your exposure to negativity to focus on your caregiving responsibilities.

Remember, many families face dramatic encounters with relatives over the holidays, but as a caregiver, minimizing any problems and avoiding negative energy is essential. Plan to have short, courteous conversations with any specific family or friends that could cause conflicts and develop a quick exit strategy in case you need to leave.

Prioritize Self Care

Caregivers are constantly going above and beyond to provide the proper care and compassion that their loved one needs. During the holidays, you might find yourself giving more of your energy. It’s a special time of year, and you want your loved one to feel included, valued, and able to enjoy all of the season’s festivities. 

However, it’s important to prioritize self-care during the holidays to avoid fatigue or burnout. All the energy you want to provide for your loved one can leave you feeling stressed and exhausted. 

Be sure to get plenty of sleep and focus on the holiday tasks and errands that are most meaningful to you and your loved one. Enjoy holiday treats, but in moderation, as too much sugar might lead to an energy crash.

Most importantly, remember that it’s okay to ask for help, especially during the holidays when you might have more relatives nearby to lend a helping hand. Family and friends can help you with holiday preparations, and there are many services that you can hire to help with cleaning, cooking, or organization.

If you’re worried about your loved one’s safety and engagement, Franciscan Ministries’ senior living communities in Illinois have a solution. Our respite care communities provide a safe, welcoming environment with personalized support on a short-term basis to ensure that you’re able to enjoy a much-needed break from caregiving during this stressful time of the year. 

To learn more about our respite care services and our senior living communities in Illinois, visit our website or contact a member of the Franciscan Ministries team.