The holidays should be a time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. However, if you or a family member is carrying the responsibility of being a full-time caregiver, the holidays can sometimes have the opposite effect. It is also a time when adult children and family friends may notice that their loved ones need additional support with daily activities and medical care. Making your needs known as a primary giver and knowing how to offer support on the other end, can be tricky. Thankfully, there are simple steps you can take to start the conversation and make your holiday enjoyable for all.
One of the best things you can do is communicate as a family prior to arrival and speak honestly about any unspoken expectations you or they may have. Depending on family’s level of involvement, some members may not realize just how much care needs have changed since the last time they visited. For example, you may want to ask your family to share the responsibility of preparing meals or let them know that some traditions may look a little bit different this year. Making expectations known ahead of time, will allow everyone to come prepared to support one another.
Additionally, consider creating a list of simple things that family can do when they want to be a support but don’t know how. Instead of helping grandpa with getting dressed in the morning, perhaps they could go take the boxes in the garage to Goodwill or change that lightbulb in the upstairs room. Have the list on hand, so when somebody asks, “How can I help?”, you don’t have to remember things on the spot. If you are the one visiting, offer to run errands or give the primary caregiver a break and sit with your loved one while they take some time to go out by themselves.
Finally, consider bringing in reinforcements. While it can be difficult to allow someone into your personal space, having a dedicated care partner can make all the difference. A compassionate and trained in-home care specialist can learn your family member’s routine and ease the burden of care. That way, you can be free to enjoy each other’s presence instead of worrying about what needs to “get done” this holiday season.
Before the chaos of the season ensues, consider holding a family meeting to talk about ways that you can come together to ensure that the holidays are a time of celebration and enjoyment, instead of stress. And if you need a caregiver to partner with you this holiday season, please give Comprehensive Home and Companion Services a call to ask for support.