5 Tips for Caregivers During the Holidays

For some family members whom are caregivers, the holiday season can be a great time when spirits are lighter, and everyone is feeling festive.  Many family members feel rewarded by providing in-home care to their family members and being together enjoying long standing family traditions. However, for some of us the holiday season can bring a layer of stress and burden, as an already busy caregiver can find their role and responsibilities increase.   What can a person do about this? Holidays can already be a stressful time, so it is OK to say, “I can only do so much”. We’ve put together some helpful tips for caregivers to assist in putting the holiday season in perspective, reduce your stress and enjoy getting together with friends and family.

Focus on what is most meaningful

We all want the perfect holiday experience but remember that perfection is not the goal of the holidays, having good conversation, reconnecting and joy is.  We must recognize that we can’t control our family members, never mind their health and abilities! So focus on the positives you see in your encounters. If you are feeling overwhelmed or are concerned about needing help, this may be a great time to look at having senior home care services to reduce the burden and increase your support.  Then you can really enjoy the Holiday and your loved ones!

Keep holiday activities simple

Most people love to decorate to make sure it feels like the holidays; however, it is important to recognize that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you are stressing about the time, then maybe choose a few decorations that have more meaning.  If sending greeting cards is too time-consuming, try sending e-greetings. You may also want to consider attending one or two key holiday celebrations, rather than becoming overwhelmed with planning to attend multiple events. Rather than worrying about cooking and cleaning during the large traditional Christmas dinner, perhaps hire a private Calgary Senior home care provider to help prepare the meal and clean afterwards?  This would allow you to spend quality time with your friends and family, rather than stressing about having to do everything.

Adjust meals

We all know that one of the best parts of the Holiday season is the food!  However, we do know that the meals require significant time to prepare, money and coordination. Many caregivers can find themselves in the Holiday spiral having to coordinate the event, make sure everyone is happy with the arrangements and then the holiday baking…exhausting!  It comes to a point that many may consider cancelling the holiday meal all together. So perhaps a thought… rather than cancelling holiday meals entirely, perhaps just make a few tweaks;

  • Simplify the menu. Try fewer side dishes or one dessert instead of three
  • Split up the grocery shopping and cooking among other family members and guests
  • Arrange to have help from a private home care company to assist in the meal preparation and clean up
  • Purchase all or part of meals at a local grocery store or restaurant that you enjoy


Approach gift-giving more efficiently

The holiday season can have a strong focus on gift-giving as it typically is part of the tradition, but it can be stressful. Some strategies might be to shop online or ask a friend or relative to shop for you. Or if it’s the wrapping that has you concerned for time then use one of the services that they offer at all the malls and have them wrap the gifts?  Maybe just having gift cards will work? In some instances, family caregivers can be financially strapped, so it may be necessary to reduce you gift budget and number of gifts this year. If your family is large, draw names and exchange with just one person- or perhaps have a conversation with the adults that perhaps exchanging gifts are no longer necessary.  

Ask for help

Even if you don’t normally do so, the holidays are a great time to get some extra help — even a few hours can be a huge relief. Family and friends can help with holiday preparations. A personal assistant or concierge can complete items on your holiday to-do list or handle personal things like organising mail or running errands. Get someone to clean the house or catch up on laundry. Contact a home care company, like Vytality at Home to help with direct in home care for your loved ones.

The holidays can bring about emotions at the best of times. These are compounded when you are a caregiver or have a loved one that could use some extra help. Expect that a few things will always go at least a little wrong and go with the flow. Remember to savor the moments with your loved ones and make great memories. Any holiday season could be the last one that we share with a loved one and if we keep that in mind, we will focus on the creating memories and not sweating the small stuff.

Happy Holidays from the team at Vytality at Home!

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