Caregiving Tips to Make the Holidays Merry
By Jean Donahue
holidays are such a time of joy for many people. That joy is greatest when
the people around us are healthy and like their lives and future. But for
the rest of us in caregiving roles, the holidays can be a time of great
frustration -- our loved one is ill. For some of us, our loved one
doesnít even know there is a holiday.
times the feelings are overwhelming. And for those of us in this
situation, we often ask: What can I do to make this holiday season joyful
for my loved one Ė and for me?
I first started taking care of my parents, they had traveled south in the
winter and had shared many holidays with their friends. Mom hadnít known
me as her daughter for many years because of her Alzheimerís disease,
but Dad was alert and could think well by the time the holiday season came
around. I didnít know how retired people in Arizona celebrated, but some
very good friends of my parents filled me in. I was so relieved when they
invited us to their place for the day.
was a different story the last couple of years with my parents. We were
home because of the strokes Dad had and I didnít know what to do. I
asked both of them what they wanted to do but didnít get any answer that
would help. I thought about what to do, asked people, then finally came
upon my own plan that I thought they would like. Since they couldnít go
anywhere, I decided to try to create a Christmas and New Yearís like
those they experienced at home when they were children. That was where Mom
thought she was, and Dad regressed to his youth every time he had a
stroke. My idea seemed to fit well with the situation.
that time I have read a lot about what to do during the holidays. What
will bring the most joy for both you and your loved one Ė and what will
be the least stressful.
a caregiver, you must be sure to include your own desires and needs at the
busy holiday season. Specifically:
your loved one is in an assisted living facility or nursing home, what
will work the best for them?
your loved one is living in their home or your home, what is the best way
to help them enjoy the holiday?
are some things you can do in both situations.
make a point to tell your loved one that you love them and want to be with
them at this special time of year -- that being with them makes this
season special for you. When you consider your loved oneís desires and
needs along with your own desires and needs, you will find this holiday
season to be extra special and one that you both will remember.
holidays I spent while taking care of Mom and Dad are more special and
memorable than the ones I spent with them earlier. My parents enjoyed
their holidays through good times and bad, but I enjoyed them also. Iím
so glad I spent those holidays with them, and wouldnít change anything
if I could have.