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Top 5 tips for caregivers during the holidays

by on December 12, 2019 12:01 PM

STATE COLLEGE — Just when you had more than enough to do, the holidays rolled around with just a few more items that seem like only you can do them. Here are five things to remember during this busy time so you can still enjoy the season:

Are you caring for someone living with dementia? Since dementia can affect the five senses, it’s a good idea to keep events familiar and minimize stimuli so there are fewer chances for this person to become upset or agitated — and potentially contribute to additional stress.

Do less. You can either decide that some decorating or traditions aren’t going to take place this year, or hire help to take on some of those responsibilities. Those seemingly little things add up and before you know it, you’ve spent hours gift wrapping, addressing cards, or stringing lights. Delegate what can be done by someone else. Maybe ask a trusted loved one to pick up a visiting relative from the airport, for example.

Use this time to communicate with the whole family about care needs — yours, the one for whom you care or others in the family. Perhaps you look so capable that others haven’t been stepping up. Now is the time to ask them to give you a break — maybe just during their seasonal visit or on a more regular basis.

Whether you’re just visiting or remain as the primary caregiver after the holidays, plan now to spend time helping with cleaning up the decorations and preparing for the New Year. This is a good time to do a safety check in the house by looking for tripping or slipping hazards, checking batteries on smoke detectors, and setting up medical appointments.

Give yourself — and others — the gift of rest. This doesn’t have to be a hectic time and trying to do it all can possibly create anxiety around the holiday. Engage in easy activities, such as taking walks or calling loved ones who can’t join you — to spice up the day and bring joy.

Jill M. Harbaugh is the business marketing manager for HomeWatch CareGivers Central PA.


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