5 Holiday Stress Management Tips For Caregivers
From holiday traditions and feasts to sharing the spirit of the season among others, this time of year brings love, light and laughter to many families. But, it can also cause unwanted stress on caregivers or relatives when it comes to aging seniors. Between decorating, baking, shopping and entertaining, it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed during the holidays. Fortunately, there are some practical tips to help manage stress for seniors and their loved ones.
Read on to learn more about holiday stress and anxiety prevention.
1. Set Flexible Goals
Your holiday routine should be realistic, easy to follow and flexible to your lifestyle. It is very common for people to have higher expectations for the holiday season than any other time of year. As a caregiver, you may feel frustrated or stressed out when things don’t go as planned. However, you should understand that families, along with holiday customs, change as you age. By setting attainable goals and keeping things simple, you can help ease holiday stress and add more joy to the yearly gatherings.
2. Maintain A Healthy Routine
From delicious treats like pumpkin pie to warm hot chocolate on a chilly Christmas morning, there’s nothing like festive, homemade foods for the holidays. But the same foods that make our holidays so special can also get in the way of our health. The temptation to overindulge is almost certain, making it a challenge for seniors who take several medications or need to follow a restricted diet.
To avoid this, be sure to eat a healthy snack before a large holiday meal. It can help fight off cravings and the effects of overeating.
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3. Plan Holiday Shopping & Year-end Spending
Although the gift-giving season brings a lot of holiday cheer to you and your loved one, it also carries a heavy price tag. With crowded malls and overpriced items, your shopping experience may become more stressful than planned.
Here are some ways to cut holiday spending as a caregiver.
- Create a reasonable budget
- Browse through online coupon codes
- Compare prices from different stores
- Join loyalty programs at some of your favorite stores
- Track your spending by opening a temporary savings or layaway account
- Take advantage of online shopping deals like Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Using this list of tips will help you save time and money in the long run. For more information about financial planning, check out our resource center.
4. Keep Seniors Active In Holiday Festivities
After making your shopping list and checking it twice, be sure to follow up with your senior. When older adults can no longer take charge of holiday planning, it may be time to start some new traditions that allow them to remain active in seasonal festivities. For example, going to a community potluck for holiday dinners can limit the stress on caregivers. Additionally, downsizing on decorations keeps the tradition from becoming overwhelming.
Holiday Stress & Depression In Seniors
Grief is perhaps the most common stressor for seniors during the holidays. For seniors who’ve lost a loved one, the holidays can trigger difficult memories. Many find that talking about those loved ones who are no longer present and reminiscing about holidays spent with them can be a joyful experience. Acknowledging the loss helps to ease the pain and can become a meaningful activity.
If you’re a caregiver, consider the following ideas to help bring more joy and merriment to your aging loved one.
- Toast to your loved one
- Light a memorial candle
- Provide spiritual support
- Volunteer to help those in need
- Make a photo album of previous holidays together to focus on positive memories
- Set aside a time to share a memory or a funny story about the deceased at your holiday dinner
It’s often the responsibility of caregivers and children to provide emotional support, ensuring that seniors feel involved during this time. With an actionable plan and a conversation with other family members and care providers, this can be managed effectively by keeping everyone’s stress levels to a minimum.
5. Find Respite Care Services Near You
Respite care is a short-term stay at a senior living community. It’s typically recommended for older adults who are recovering from an injury or other health-related causes. It’s also available when a caregiver needs to take some much-needed time off. These services can help you control the added stress of the holiday season.
At Senior Lifestyle, we believe that building new traditions and finding creative ways to celebrate adds more meaning to the holiday season. With a few ideas, your family gatherings can be a joyful occasion for seniors and caregivers. Simplifying, planning ahead and managing expectations eases anxiety for everyone involved. For information about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our interactive map.