Holiday Caregiver Burnout
Author: Valerie Michel Buck
Whether you're at the end of your tether, that tether has been cut years ago or you're just starting Caregiving for a loved one this time of year always seems to be the hardest. The season of joy is upon us, that is what the media, shopping centers and carolers want you to believe, but for many, the season of joy is really just more WORK! Organizing family from out of town, who is going to whose home when, shopping, cooking for an Army, wrapping gifts, shoveling snow, making that batch of cookies, decorating, the joy of scrapping your car from frost, and of course trying to avoid putting on an extra 10 pounds we usually gain during this time.
Don't forget the responsibilities you already have (work, community and charity) including Caregiving. Could we dump anymore on you during the holidays? I'm stressed out writing about it. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Let's make 2014 a little easier on you shall we?
- What is important for you to accomplish and what can wait?
- Complete all important tasks from start to finish without starting a new one. Multi-tasking is wonderful, however, you feel most overwhelmed when you're doing too much at one time.
- Consider giving yourself an allotted time per task. Example: 20 minutes to straighten the house, it's amazing when you're focused what you can really accomplish in 20 minutes. Use a timer that you have handy (most modern Microwaves and Ranges have this option without them being in use).
Dump Grandpa (in a loving way)
- Everyone needs time to themselves and let's face it Caregiving isn't easy. It is not too much to ask other family members to care Grandpa (or Grandma) occasionally. It can be a great opportunity for other members of your family to spend time caring for and visiting with their Grandparent.
- Sign Grandpa up for a community activity where he is with others his age, you can take a class at the community center in another room so you can still be close but doing something that interests you.
- Try an Adult Day Care service in your area.
- Have you considered hiring a home care service to help care for your loved one?
- Have you ever considered the services of a care manager who knows the eldercare resources available in your area?
Don't Bother Cooking
- A turkey, a ham, a prime rib, four different types of potatoes, cookies, pie, oh and a vegetable dish because John's son is a vegetarian, etc. Pass these hard tasks along. Most grocery stores can prepare a whole turkey, sides and more for you for a reasonable amount.
- Have your guests bring something and delegate what they bring, which can save you a lot of time and dishes.
- Buy the cookies and gifts you give the neighbors or have younger generations come over and make them for you, this is a great tradition to start!
- Consider letting another family member play host!
- An annual cleaning from a cleaning company is heaven, you can dictate how much you're willing to spend and what services you'd like to take advantage of! Gift it to yourself for the holidays because you'll appreciate it.
- Consider talking to your local Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, Community Club, High School Club, or home maintenance service about helping you with tasks around the house. A lot of the time these individuals need community service hours to receive awards and advancements, this also looks great on college applications.
- Pay a neighborhood kid to shovel your snow, they are cheap and I never met a kid who didn't enjoy a little extra money. Ask their parents if it's okay first.
- It's so hard to pamper yourself with Grandma around right? Not at all, go get a pedicure and Grandma could get a haircut and style. Or get a couples massage, you get a better rate if you do that. It will both do you good to have some you time and feel wonderful.
- Many states have heating programs to assist with help in paying your heating bill during the colder months. Contact your local health department or community service organization for information.
- Many churches and community service organizations have access or knowledge of food banks in your area, as well as clothing and other necessities.
- Many churches use their weekly collections to help those in need, talk to your spiritual leader about how they can help.
- Have you considered using the services of a financial planner in your area? A financial planner or advisor who works with the elderly understands how to invest assets for that age group. This person will also understand how to use assets and income when there is a need for long term care.
Senior Care Professionals
- Find a Senior Care Specialist in your area.
- Find a Home Care Service in your area.
- Consider using Pension Benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay any person for the care of a senior veteran or their surviving spouse in the home.
These senior services may be able to teach you a few steps to help ease the Caregiver burden.
Remember you can't take care of someone else's needs if you first don't learn to take care of your own. I hope you have all the joy the holidays are meant to bring.