The holiday season is thought to be the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the time of the year when the family gets together, it’s a time for happiness, thankfulness, and faith. Unfortunately, due to the threat of COVID-19, this holiday season may be a little different. Caregiving can sometimes be extremely challenging any time of the year, but with the challenges that tend to come with the holidays and when you add the pandemic into the mix, this holiday season may seem like things are impossible. No one feels the strain of the holidays more than the elderly and the people who care for them, but there is good news. We’ve put together a few tips for caregivers to continue their joyfulness and reduce their stress during the holidays and COVID-19.
Physical distancing can be extremely stressful for caregivers who typically spend time during the holidays with siblings and other loved ones. The social isolation that accompanies social distancing can also take a toll on your elderly loved one’s physical and emotional health. It’s important to continue having contact with other family members and friends. Thankfully technology makes it possible to face-to-face contact with loved ones. So, although it may not be the same as being in the same room during the holidays, using Facetime, Zoom or Facebook messenger will allow you to see and connect with loved ones. A simple phone call can do wonders for both the caregiver and the elderly.
Don't Think It Has to Be All or Nothing
If you tend to think that your traditional holiday activities aren’t really worth doing if you can’t do all of them with the usual family members may leave you and your elderly loved one feeling more alone and stressed. Instead, consider starting new traditions and activities that can be enjoyed by you and your elderly loved one. For instance, if you tend to bake cookies with siblings and other younger family members, consider spending the day with your elderly loved one baking treats for the neighbors or to send to a family that can’t be there this holiday season. This will allow you to spend time together doing a typical holiday tradition and you’ll have some happiness when you leave the baked goods on your neighbor’s porches. Other ways to continue holiday activities may include:
- If you’re unable to go to the annual holiday concert or religious service, find a concert or religious service online or on the television and watch it together.
- If you’re missing the holiday decorations that are typically put up at your home during the holidays, gather some simple supplies and make new decorations together to put up in your elderly loved one's home.
- Don’t skip your holiday dinner. Just because it may only be the two of you doesn’t mean you can’t have a holiday dinner. Instead of cooking a large turkey and all the fixings, cook a small turkey breast for the two of you, and don’t forget a couple of your favorite sides.
Don’t Skip the Decorations
If you simply don’t have it in you to put up the large tree that’s typically used for the holidays, have a small potted tree delivered. It will allow you to spend time decorating the tree together and your elderly loved one will be excited to have a tree, regardless of the size. If decorations are typically something that the whole family does together, but social distancing prevents them from coming in the house, ask family members to stop by and help with outdoor decorations and your elderly loved one can watch from the window. Make sure to share photos and videos of your holiday decorations and request family members to send theirs.
As important as it is for you to make sure your elderly loved one is safe and healthy, it is equally important for you to take care of yourself. Your loved one's well-being depends on your ability to maintain your own, so it’s essential that you eat healthy, well-balanced meals, maintain a regular sleeping routine, and take the opportunity to exercise when you can. Caregiving is a stressful responsibility, but it shouldn’t take over your life. It’s important for your health to use your spare moments to relax. Take time to read, listen to music, or work on your favorite hobby. Make it your goal to create shared holiday experiences with your elderly loved one; this really makes the holidays special, but also make it a goal to take the time to care for yourself as well.
If you need help with caring for your elderly loved one, contact 1st Meridian Care Services.