Holidays can hold memories of special times and places over the years. Often the common emotion that caregivers report is guilt, but especially during the holidays. We cannot return to past holidays. In your role as caregiver it is not necessary to again provide “the perfect picture” for everyone. And that’s OK. Let family members know that your daily caregiving duties are keeping you very busy: you only have so much energy for holiday preparations.
Making your wish list first:
THANKMAS: Make two events into one mid December.
Allow another family member to host.
Ask for quiet, small gatherings.
Choose which events to attend based on the simplest, most enjoyable, least tiring for you both to match the comfort level of you and your impaired loved one. Consider the logistics; prevent any fall risks for either of you.
Make a “visiting room”:
Adapt the environment to this year’s needs. Arrange to have another room in the house designated as a quiet place for the impaired person. Many people with dementia, stroke and other challenges find multiple conversations and background noise disturbing. The person may benefit from less stimulus where family members could take turns visiting with them one on one.
Read a favorite book or have the grandkids read theirs back to Grampa!
Sit with quiet music, hum or sing along to a CD together.
Keep in mind that the holidays can, in fact, provide unique opportunities to seek better communication, connection and support from family and friends.
When you receive invitations to functions you no longer can easily attend, you can have a phrase ready:
I’ve committed to a quiet holiday season this year. Can we get together in January
Knowing how much to do and when the needs are beyond your limits can be hard to identify. Allowing others to help provides the opportunity for everyone to participate.
Would you share other ways you can say no gently?