In the December 11 edition of Today’s Caregiver newsletter, Editor-in-Chief Gary Barg wrote an article titled “Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday Season.” In it he listed 6 ways for a caregiver to reduce holiday stress. He offered some very good information, but several of his tips reminded me how different each situation is.
Include your loved one in your holiday preparations.
Barg said this would make them feel useful and would free up your time to do other things while they were occupied. This didn’t work so well at my house. It usually went like this:
“Can I help?”
“Sure. You can mix up the pecan pie filling.”
“I can do that. What do I do first?”
“Break these 3 eggs into this bowl.”
“I can do that. Oops!”
“That’s okay. I’ll fish those shells out of the bowl. Now beat them up with this whisk.”
“No problem. I’ll wipe the counter off in a minute. Now measure a cup of corn syrup and pour it in with the eggs.”
“I’ll get that when I wipe up the eggs. Why don’t you stir while I measure and pour.”
Maintain a sense of familiarity.
The second tip really didn’t apply to my situation. Barg said to keep the rearrangement of furniture and decorations to a minimum in order to avoid fall hazards. I won’t say that Mom and Dad were lazy, but as long as there was a clear path from their bed to the bathroom and from the couch to the dining table, it was all good. I could move whatever I wanted to and they never even noticed.
Limit the number of guests in your home at one time.
This wasn’t a problem either. As long as Mom and Dad could sit together on the couch and watch what was going on, they were happy. A plateful of Christmas goodies made it even better. That’s not to say the excitement wasn’t confusing to them.
The first Christmas we were in Florida, our Sunday school class party was at our house. We had a large, festive crowd, and Mom and Dad thoroughly enjoyed all the attention they received. But Dad didn’t really understand the white elephant gift exchange or all the good natured gift “stealing” that went with it. After it was over, he had a question.
“Did you say these people are from the church?”
“Yes, they’re all in mine and David’s Sunday school class.”
“Well, they really need it!”
You don’t have to be a hero.
Barg’s last three tips are specifically for the caregiver: ask for help, take advantage of available resources, and take time for yourself. To paraphrase and old saying, “If the caregiver ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” So give yourself a break and plan your holidays in a way that you and those you care for will be as relaxed and as happy as possible. Most of all, take time to remember the promise of the Incarnation.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1
- Feeling the Holiday Spirit | by Linda Brendle (lifeaftercaregiving.wordpress.com)
- Earthly and Heavenly Treasures | by Linda Brendle (lifeaftercaregiving.wordpress.com)
- Be Creative but Wary when Planning Activities for Alzheimer’s Patients | by Linda Brendle (lifeaftercaregiving.wordpress.com)