When it comes to celebrating the holidays, society’s message to us is that the bigger, brighter, flashier and costlier the experience, the better. Yet for family caregivers, especially those in the sandwich generation who are meeting the needs of both aging parents and their own children and spouse, trying to meet these expectations can be overwhelming.
But take heart; there’s another approach to enjoying the holiday with seniors that’s likely to be more warmly received and appreciated: simplifying. Scaling back on all of the holiday preparations and activities can be incredibly rewarding, allowing for more focus and attention on strengthening family bonds – something our high tech world so desperately needs.
Rather than filling your calendar (and your stress level) to overflowing, take a deep breath, and consider the following instead:
- Be present. There’s really no better gift you can give than that of your presence. Make this the best holiday with seniors by devoting uninterrupted, quality time to share a cup of coffee and some conversation. Ask the senior to share memories from holidays past. If you’d like, you can use this time to create a simple holiday craft together, such as stringing popcorn and cranberries; but don’t let an activity overshadow the goal of simply being together.
- Be thankful. Gratitude has a way of pushing our worries aside. Keeping a thankful journal is a great way to document what means the most to you, and to reflect back on it when stress begins to seep in. Include even the smallest blessings: a special holiday treat you enjoyed, the soft beauty of a snowfall, the feel of a warm blanket just pulled from the dryer.
- Be proactive. Before allowing pressure to build to an unmanageable level in your life, have a plan in place to bring in reinforcements. Especially during the busy holiday season, one person can never handle everything alone. Having assistance with meals, housework, running errands, etc. for your senior loved one can relieve a great deal of stress. Often friends and family would love to help, but are unsure what’s needed.
Absolute Companion Care, a provider of professional elder care in Towson, MD and the surrounding areas, is always readily available to help with a wide variety of senior care needs, freeing up family caregivers during the holidays and throughout the year to achieve a healthier life balance.
Contact us any time at 410-357-9640 for a free in-home consultation to see how we can make your holiday with seniors more meaningful by serving as your loved one’s professional partner in care. And from our family to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season and all of the best in the new year!