Caregiving during the holiday season

Allowing for changes during the holiday season so everyone can enjoy this special time.

The holiday season is steeped in excitement, anticipation and traditions. For a family taking care of an aging parent or a family member with dementia, holiday planning may look different from year to year. Keeping this time of year enjoyable for you as a caregiver, and for the family member you care for, may result in making new traditions.

What to consider when making holiday plans
  • Accept the fact that plans may need to change to accommodate the care receiver.
  • Recognize that breaking some traditions is difficult and take time to mourn the loss.
  • Remember that your family member (care receiver) will also feel the loss that change brings and may have feelings of guilt.
  • Keep changes to only those that are necessary. If you always watch a favorite holiday movie together plan to keep that tradition.
  • Don’t leave the care receiver out of the planning process, as long as they are able to participate ask for their input.
  • Keep rest, nutritional and medication routines in mind for your family member when planning events.
  • Provide deliberate opportunities for family members to visit with the care receiver. A quiet room away from all the action would work best for a visit.

Families are constantly changing with weddings, babies, new jobs and in some cases, declining health of our eldest members. Making connections with each other while creating new traditions will keep your holiday season merry and bright.

If you would like more information on taking care of yourself as a caregiver visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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