Friday, November 22, 2013

Caregiving 101: The Holidays

Caregiving 101: The Holidays

         The Holidays.  A time of great food, wonderful memories, and a whole lot of stress!!  As a caregiver, the added responsibilities of the extra activities during Thanksgiving and Christmas can be overwhelming.  And some days, no matter how hard we try, it just is too much to do. 

       It is with this added stress and demands that we caregivers can loose our composure, our focus, and our temper!  This is not what we want and the added stress of guilt over our sharp words or our attitude is just another burden that we don't need!

       First impulse is to cancel everything - including the sunrise if you could!  But when other family is involved, including spouse and especially children, ignoring the holiday and canceling family traditions is unfair and disappointing even to those who tell you it doesn't matter.  It does matter.  Life indeed goes on, and keeping the routine helps keep life more "normal".

       If you have extended family and they invite you to share their Holiday Dinner, accept!  You don't have to always be the designated hostess!  Sharing a meal in someone else's home can be a great experience for you, your family, and your loved one.

       If your situation is such that you will be doing the dinner and hostessing, keep expectations realistic - for everyone involved, especially yourself!  Scaling back and making things more simplistic can be a lot less stressful and still make for memorial moments.

       As everyone tells us when we have too much to do:  DELEGATE!   Include the family in the preparations, cooking, and clean up and let them help.  OK, they may not do it just as perfectly as we want it done, but that's alright! 

        If other people outside your household will be attending, enlist them to each bring a dish for the meal.  Everyone has a special thing they like to make, so invite them to make it and bring it.  It will add to the selection!

       If our focus is to make memories that will last a lifetime rather than have the most impressively set table and perfectly coordinated meal, we have accomplished what the Lord really wants us to do.  As someone told me once: 

             Use things and cherish people.
          Never cherish things and use people.

       The Holidays are indeed a special time.  We need to pray for the Lord to give us wisdom to do the things today that will be our precious memories tomorrow.