Common Holiday Stresses That Affect Our Caregivers – And How You Can Help
Dedicated Pegasus in-home health caregivers in West Los Angeles and elsewhere practice stress management. They understand that the holidays add more stress to family caregivers as well. Our career home health care nurses strive to help everyone increase their holiday enjoyment.
Caregiving Is Often Stressful For Families
Although caregiving is an act of love, it can be stressful for families. A family caregiver frequently experiences frustration. Other conditions that leave them feeling overwhelmed include:
- Being “always on duty”: Loved ones often demand 24/7 care. Even when they don’t, caregivers never know when they’ll be needed. Pegasus services include respite care, which you can arrange for as often or as long as necessary.
- Changing roles: Family caregivers are often thrust into roles that may be the opposite of what their lives were. The changes and new responsibilities can leave them feeling confused or resentful. You can help them establish routines or assist in arranging counseling if needed.
- Financial or legal concerns: Family caregivers may have to quit their jobs to care for their loved ones. Use your networking skills to connect them with social services or other resources.
- Isolation: A caregiver’s responsibilities may mean that they don’t have time to enjoy fun or relaxing activities with friends. Those same responsibilities prevent “me-time” for the caregiver. This is another instance in which you can arrange respite care.
- Uncertainty: Many fear what the future might hold from them or their ill or disabled loved one. Others worry that they don’t know what to do, especially if there’s a medical crisis. As a home healthcare nurse, you have the opportunity to teach them how to cope with medical conditions.
Burnout is common for family caregivers. That leads to feeling guilty when they don’t meet self-imposed expectations.
Holiday Plans Often Increase Family Caregiver Stress Levels
As part of your career as a home healthcare nurse, you support and encourage family caregivers. You also meet the needs of your own family. Everyone’s stress levels can increase exponentially when the holidays roll around.
Some families only spend time together during the holidays. There may be members who are unaware of how much care a loved one requires. Others are in denial about the declining health of their loved one.
You can help the caregiver prepare everyone in advance of get-togethers. Some experts suggest sending a letter or email updating the loved one’s condition. You can help by explaining the medical aspects of what to expect.
You may need to arrange a sit-down with family members that are in denial. Because you are an expert, they may be more willing to accept the facts from you. You can also assist by providing trustworthy resources for them.
As an in-home healthcare nurse, you often advise family caregivers. Your expertise doesn’t stop the criticism from other family members when they come to visit. Take time before the holidays to teach your patient and their caregiver how to reduce their expectations.
Like most people, you want the holidays to be special. Despite whatever might have happened in their lives during the past year, families want to celebrate. Your family is no different, and the extra work is leaving you exhausted.
Holiday Celebrations Don’t Have To Be Stressful
Family caregivers assisting your senior clientele are experiencing similar difficulties with their holiday celebrations. You can help them, and yourself, reduce the stress. Consider the following:
- Make it easy on yourself – do what you can, and let the rest go. Your home doesn’t need this year’s award for the most or best decorations. Dinners don’t have to vie for Michelin 5-star status. Go for goodwill and a good time.
- Out with (some of) the old – many families have treasured traditions. If you can keep them, that’s good. But if continuing what “we have always done” takes more time, energy, and effort than you have, it’s okay to replace them with new traditions.
- Remember the reason – holiday celebrations are a time to be with those you care about. Sure, it’d be wonderful if everything was perfect, but it isn’t. Concentrate on what brings the most joy.
- Take the high road – you may have family members who seem bent on ruining celebrations for everyone else. If it isn’t possible to avoid them, mentally prepare yourself in advance. Don’t let them draw you into negative encounters no matter how deeply you have to bite your tongue.
- To give is better than to receive, sometimes – you might be able to complete all your holiday gift-giving obligations within your budget. Or not. Talk to family members in advance about scaling back. Type “alternatives to buying gifts for Christmas” in any search engine for dozens of suggestions.
- Take a deep breath – remind yourself that “this too shall pass” when circumstances become chaotic.
Discuss these tips with your senior clientele and their family caregivers.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our in-home caregivers in West Los Angeles and our other locations are skilled at improving quality of life for clients. Our career home health care nurses make reducing the holiday stresses part of their service to others.