The holidays often times are stressful for us all but as a caregiver this can be even more demanding. I came across this article by Family Caregiver Alliance that provides some sage advice for caregivers. As a caregiver myself always remember that asking for help does not mean that you failing but acknowledging that you are human.
Following are some suggestions that may help make the holidays more enjoyable for you and your loved ones. Keep in mind that the holidays can, in fact, provide unique opportunities to seek better communication, connection and support from family and friends.
An opportunity for communication
It’s hard to know how much to communicate about a loved one’s decline in cognitive functioning and personal care needs. Whom do you tell? How much do you tell?
Although it is understandable to have reservations about discussing a loved one’s impairments, honest communication about the realities of the caregiving situation offers others the opportunity to respond with assistance. Sharing the truths of your situation may help reduce some of the feelings of isolation and lack of appreciation common in caregivers.
Holiday greetings and a brief note
Some caregivers have had success in writing a brief note describing the person’s condition and enclosing it in a holiday greeting card. This can be a nonthreatening way to inform distant or uninvolved relatives about the realities of the caregiving situation. If written in a tone that’s not accusatory or guilt-inducing, family members may be more forthcoming with assistance or, at least, have a better understanding of the effort you are putting into providing care.
Let sleeping dogs lie?
It is common for caregivers to be disappointed with family members who they feel are not "pulling their weight" in caregiving responsibilities. If this holds true for you, and your goal is to enjoy the holidays, you must decide how much and when to communicate this disappointment. Consider clearing the air before the holidays or perhaps resolve within yourself to put those feelings on hold, with the intention to discuss the matter after the holiday season passes. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday!
To read more of this article please go to Family Caregiver Alliance