Making the Holidays Joyous

A special message to caregivers: Caregiving is hard and dedicated work. Make sure your holidays are joyous. I recommend the best gift of all. Take care of yourself. If you don’t treat yourself well during the Holidays, when will you?

How Much Celebration do You Need?

Give yourself an especially important gift: the “just right” amount of holiday celebration. People are different. Some people love holiday gatherings. Others are happiest connecting less often, with lots of quiet time in between. (There have been holidays where I was so busy, seeing many people every day, that all I wanted was peace and quiet.) Some people enjoy going to the mall and watching the festivities. The point is that everyone is different. Figure out what a joyous holiday is for you.

Then Make it Happen

Caregiving can make a person feel isolated. That’s bad. Listen to your heart and give yourself a treat. Reach out to the people you feel a connection with. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. It takes a bit of effort. But it’s good to catch up with family and friends and just chat about life. Afterwards, you’ll feel good. That’s when you say to yourself, “I’m so glad I did that.”

On the flip side, the Holidays can be overloaded. There may be too many friends, family commitments,  and social obligations. You might find that what you really need is more room to breathe. It takes effort to politely say “no”. But that, too, is worth it. When you give yourself the space you need, you’ll look forward to holiday engagements and not see them as a chore.

The Ones You Care for

Caregivers often wonder how to celebrate the Holidays with a frail older person. Here is a rule of thumb:  Do at least one thing you're quite sure that the person will enjoy. On the flip side, don't do anything that the person is unlikely to enjoy. Think about yourself too. What would you enjoy? What would you see as a chore? Put all these factors together. If one or two ideas come up, that’s great. If other events come up, use the rule of thumb, and go from there.

It’s important to know what your loved one prefers. How much social engagement is the right amount? Just like other people, some older people thrive with a lot of interaction. Others find too many activities exhausting. Find the right balance between social stimulation and peaceful downtime. Frail older people seldom desire a packed schedule during the holidays.

Warmest Aloha,

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PS: I say it over and over again: There's no one more important than the caregiver in the daily life of a frail person.

Posted in Dr. Warren, Geriatrics with Aloha and tagged , .

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