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Holidays: a time of joy, a time of stress for hospice caregivers

By Patty Ayers

From the beginning of November to the beginning of January one of the major concerns that many caregivers share with me is the stress associated with the upcoming holidays, combined with the stress of caring for their loved one.  Many caregivers feel “obligated” to keep things “the way they’ve always been” for the sake of their children, grandchildren or parents.  Do yourself a big favor and consider alternatives that will ease your stress.  Life has most likely not been the status quo since your loved one became ill, so why try to keep it normal when it will make you feel overwhelmed?

Discuss your concerns with your family members prior to the holiday and give them the chance to offer to have the celebration at their house if possible.  If you can’t leave the house suggest something low-key like “light snacks” instead of a big dinner.  Also, consider making it only a few hours instead of an all day event.   If a big dinner is what you would like, then ask people to bring a dish and that someone else coordinates who brings each dish.

Lastly don’t be afraid to ask for help, most likely this is a good opportunity for those family members who feel that they do not do enough for you throughout the year, to contribute in a small way.  Remember that this is your holiday too, and you deserve to relax and have fun!

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have just placed Al a week ago, and my heart is not in it, for the holidays, and I am liking this idea a lot!

    November 15, 2012
    • I sure hope you will take it easy this holiday – you deserve it!

      November 15, 2012
      • thank you. I am going to have my kids help out this year!

        November 15, 2012
  2. Reblogged this on terry1954 and commented:
    at this time now in my life, this is a great idea!!

    November 15, 2012
    • Thanks for the reblog, I hope many will take this advice to heart and work on a stress free holiday!

      November 15, 2012
      • me too!!!! You had a great blog!!!

        November 15, 2012
  3. This is an excellent article for the upcoming holiday season…I hope you’ll order my new book terry1954 because many of the stories are about my mother and my caring for her the last two years with her Alzheimer’s disease. I think you’d enjoy and relate to the stories…hospice was a huge help to me the last several months of her life this year. The book is I’ll Call It Like I See It and you can order on Red’s blog through PayPal or from me directly if you let me know your address. $14.95 + $3.55 for postage/handling = $18.50 total…I think you’d enjoy! If not, that’s ok, too! 🙂

    November 15, 2012
    • Thanks for the comment! Your book sounds really interesting, I’ll need to check it out.

      November 15, 2012
  4. Excellent post!! I actually decided to accept one of my step-daughters offer to do the Christmas Eve dinner at her home. It is a relief not having to worry about the mess, the cooking, the cleaning…. In the past we provided meals to 1000 poor people and it was a horrific job to cook and carve 50+ turkeys plus the rest! This year we will not do the lunch. I feel guilty about the people that will not have a special meal on Christmas day but I just cannot do it! Maybe next year again….This year we will have a gentle, stress free Christmas!

    November 15, 2012
    • Bravo! I’m happy to hear that after providing soooo many meals for others you have decided to let others provide for you.

      November 15, 2012
  5. Excellent post … Christmas has gone out of hands .. and we forget why we celebrate it – it’s too much of everything – except togetherness and warmth. s

    November 15, 2012
    • Thanks. I agree that Christmas has gotten out of hand. The recent hurricane here in New Jersey has taught me to cherish the time we have together. I’m grateful that I haven’t lost everything like so many others. But I have to admit that playing games by candlelight and spending some quiet time together was nice.

      November 15, 2012
      • Many years ago over Christmas we had a lot a snow over here – and the electricity went for many household and – somebody joked on TV afterwards and he said that during the period of no power he notice that he had a family of 5.

        November 16, 2012
  6. I have to give my sister’s kids a thumbs up on this one…They got together and organized Thanksgiving dinner…leaving their Mom little to do …and if they …my sister and husband…can’t make it out …they will bring Thanksgiving to them…a plan that takes the stress away from my care giver sister…so reading this was so timely…and so agree…sometimes a little change in our traditions is OK!~mkg

    November 17, 2012
    • How wonderful to hear this, and such a nice gift to your sister. This is a win-win plan, not only does your sister receive a stress-free holiday, her children get to do something very nice for their mom! Thank you so much for sharing!

      November 17, 2012

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