Community Blog

How Caregivers Can Manage Stress Around the Holidays

By Patti Soisson

From shopping for gifts to cooking the perfect goose, the holidays are so full of hustle and bustle that many people feel they barely have time to enjoy the season. If you are responsible for the in-home care of a senior loved one, you may feel overwhelmed during the holidays. These tips can help you manage stress and ensure an enjoyable experience for the entire family.


Be Flexible and Expect Changes

From magazines to Pinterest boards, the pressure to create a perfect holiday is seemingly at every turn. Even someone without the extra responsibility of caring for a loved one is not likely to achieve perfection, which means it's that much more important for you to avoid getting hung up on that idea. You don't need to make 15 different cookies if three or four types is more manageable for you. Bags and tissue paper are an excellent choice if you just don't have the time to wrap gifts. And who says you need to host or attend several holiday events per week? Choose two or three that are most important to you, your loved one and the rest of your family and attend those. Spend the rest of the time destressing and making memories at home.


Create New or Simplified Traditions

Before your loved one needed in-home care, he or she may have enjoyed baking, hosting the holiday meal, volunteering, caroling, decorating and everything else that is part of the holiday season. Unfortunately, as he or she ages, it is likely that trying to do everything will become too much for you both. You can ease stress for everyone involved by scaling back traditions. Try these suggestions:


  • Host a potluck-style holiday meal
  • Donate money instead of time
  • Host a cookie exchange instead of baking everything alone
  • Decorate tabletop trees instead of large, live ones
  • Create YouTube videos of your caroling to share with the entire world


You might also consider changing traditions to create new ones. Eat at a restaurant and then come home for dessert and gifts. Attend a holiday concert instead of caroling yourselves. This way, everyone can enjoy the holiday without feeling overwhelmed.


Seek Out Respite Care

Just because you are the primary caregiver doesn't mean you need to do everything alone. Many home health agencies provide respite services. Respite services are available for caregivers who do not need help every day but would benefit from one-time assistance. A qualified provider can provide quality senior care for your loved one, leaving you with free time to run errands, do holiday shopping or even just to take a nap. Learn more about respite care and other home health services from Home Helpers by clicking here.