With all that we have to do during the Holidays, it can be overwhelming to say the least! And as a care giver, these added demands don't help! Too often our loved one that we are caring for is the recipient of our frustration. And if it isn't them, it is another family member who really doesn't deserve it either!
So what about our loved one that we are taking care of during this time of year? First, remember that they have their own memories and emotions that get tender during the holidays. Their frustration and anger could be rising from these emotions.
A major thing to watch for is to make sure our loved one don't feel like they are a burden to us at this time. Unless they have advanced dementia or Alzheimer's, they are aware of what is going on around the house. Even if they don't say so, they want to be included not just in eating the meal, but in helping.
What the loved one is able to do to help us with our holiday preparations all depends on their physical ability. I am not advocating giving your loved one "busy work" to do, however. I feel it is too often perceived as demeaning, not helpful. That destroys their self-esteem and can create more tension between you and them.
My Mom is too frail to lift and carry, and she can't stand for long periods of time. Anything she can do to help me has to be done while sitting. But there are still things she can do and she is always willing to help out.
So, look at your "to do" list and see where your care-receiving loved one can be included:
1. Can your loved one sign the Christmas cards? If not, you can sign them, address the envelope and let your loved put the return label and stamp on the envelopes.
2. How about wrapping small gifts while you wrap the larger one.
3. When it comes to the Holiday meal, ask you loved one to fold the napkins for the table.
4. If your loved one is mobile, put all of the silverware on the table and asked your loved one to place them at the seats.
5. Can your loved one use a peeler to peal the potatoes? Spread a dish towel on their lap, sit the bowel in their lap and let them help.
Remember, whatever they are doing to help allows you to do something else!
And if your loved one is used to doing the cooking and want to tell you how to do it, ask the Lord to give you the grace to smile, love them, and just accept that as being a part of who they are! Our Pastor reminds us often that we have to choose which battles to fight, and we don't have to fight a battle just to prove that we are "right" or know better. Some things just have to be let go!
In the midst of all of the doing, take some time to ask your loved one to share special Christmas memories from their childhood. Sharing the memories not only includes the loved one, but gives us a richer understanding of what life was like when our loved one was a child. Life for them was very different back then, and it is easy for us to forget that.
The Holidays are indeed a special time. Have a very blessed CHRISTmas! Make precious memories. And may our Lord guide us into greater understanding and wisdom as we move into the new year!