Being a long-distance caregiver for an aging loved one is hard enough most months out of the year. But when the holidays roll around, you may feel conflicted, guilt-ridden, and even more stressed out than usual from trying to manage it all.
Holiday shopping. Christmas cards. Family photos. Add caregiver stress on top of it and it’s enough to put even the most jolly ole’ elf on edge.
Five Star Senior Living is here to help! These five caregiver tips can help you survive the holidays this year.
Holiday Survival Tips for Family Caregivers
- Schedule, schedule, schedule
While a real estate buyer’s mantra is “location, location, location,” the golden rule of a long-distance caregiver should be, “schedule, schedule, schedule.”
Plan your daily activities, weekly trips, holiday parties, and even phone calls ahead of time. But remember give yourself a buffer so you’re not scheduled down to the minute. That way, if an activity runs late, you have time to compensate for the disruption without adding to your stress.
Make sure to plan for downtime, too. Whether that means stopping for a latte, a pampering manicure, a weekly yoga class or taking 20 minutes to meditate in the morning, you need time for yourself.
- Be ready to go with the flow
Whether you’re dealing with children, an aging parent with Alzheimer’s, or just unexpected holiday traffic, the best laid holiday plans often fall to pieces.
Adapt as best you can. Accept that certain events or plans just won’t happen. Being adaptable will save everyone’s sanity, especially your own.
- Rely on a support network close to your aging parent
If you’re caring for an aging parent who lives far away, you have probably built up a local support network. (And if not, it’s time to start.) Make sure your aging loved ones have friends or a geriatric care professional who can check in on them.
Also consider establishing a back-up plan, in case unexpected circumstances arise that prevent you from spending the holiday with your loved one. Perhaps older family member has a friend who will visit them or a friend’s family that will welcome them to enjoy a holiday dinner at their table.
- Streamline and simplify
If you find the holidays are getting to be too hectic—especially if they involve travel—consider cutting back.
Maybe it’s not necessary to cook an entire “Feast of the Seven Fishes” for Christmas Eve. Instead, focus on creating a few favorite dishes. Even better? Order food from a local restaurant or make your holiday dinner a potluck.
If you typically attend multiple holiday parties and events, consider scaling back to just a few favorites this year.
- Start New Traditions
Remember when Ralphie’s family’s turkey was gobbled by the neighbor’s dog in A Christmas Story? It wasn’t the end of the holiday. They just went out for Chinese food.
The important thing is not to create more stress for yourself by trying to preserve every tradition or create a picture-perfect holiday. Instead, focus on spending quality time with your loved ones.
Start building family memories and holiday traditions with your aging loved one in a beautiful Five Star Senior Living community. Contact us today to learn more!