Alleviating Holiday Stress for Caregivers
By: Christi Losinski, Marketing Director
Being able to spend the time and take care of a loved one is truly a gift. It takes a special, loving person to take on that role. There is an unprecedented number of caregivers helping their loved ones and that number continues to climb which means that caregiver burnout is climbing at the same rate. The holiday season only amplifies the stress levels that caregivers experience causing many people to feel more like a Grinch.
When the majority of your attention is focused on taking care of someone else it’s very easy to forget that your needs, and the needs of your family, are equally as important. This is where the burnout begins and it’s not only detrimental to you, but to your loved ones as well. The good news is that there is help, and you don’t even have to write a letter to Santa to get it! Here are a few tips that will free up some of your time so that you (yes, even you!) can enjoy this holiday season.
Errands: We live in an age where nearly everything you can imagine can be ordered online. Running endless errands and going to multiple stores takes up a great deal of time. If you take a moment to browse online you’ll find there are numerous websites where you can get anything you need for your home, from cleaning supplies and fruitcake to toiletries and ornaments. Several local stores even offer home delivery for groceries including fresh produce!
Meals: When our calendars get full it’s hard to set aside time to make dinner, and this season tends to add to that stress when there’s always a potluck or gathering you need to cook something for. Some meal prep for a week at a time or pull the crock pot off the shelf so that dinner is ready when they get home. Remember that there are a lot of grocery stores that offer prepared meals that you only have to heat up. This is also the season when the online meal delivery companies offer huge discounts that you can take advantage of. If you’re in a pinch and need to bring something to work or a party, offer to bring an “easy” item like plates and silverware or drinks instead of something you have to cook. You don’t always have to be the one decorating dozens of cookies.
Travel: The holiday season is prime time for traveling, whether you’re going to visit family or taking a much-needed vacation. For caregivers, this isn’t as simple as booking a flight or a hotel room because they need to make sure their loved one’s needs are met. It can be difficult to depend on another individual to provide care in your absence and, often times, finding that type of coverage only adds to your stress level. Respite at an assisted living is the answer you’ve been looking for, and the process to arrange it is fairly simple. There is some preplanning required to ensure that the community has the required documentation but when it’s time for the stay to begin all your loved one needs to bring is a suitcase with clothes and personal care items. In addition to you having peace of mind that your loved one will be well cared for while you enjoy your vacation, the respite recipient will also be on a vacation of sorts. He or she will have the opportunity to meet new people, enjoy new experiences and restaurant quality food.
Ultimately, the key is to remember that you don’t have to do everything and you’re not in this alone. This is definitely easier said than done but help is available, and no one should be dreading the holidays because their to-do list is never ending. Take a moment to see if there are ways you can alleviate the load you’re carrying on your shoulders so that you can make time to relax, take in the magic of the season and enjoy the ones you love.