Surviving the Holidays
by Lauren Holder
Happy holidays! ‘Tis the season to be stressed. At least that’s how it feels for me, so I decided to do some digging this year and find some tips for surviving the holidays.
I found some really great articles about caregiver tips for the holidays, and I figured I would share my top five tips with you.
- Be flexible! There is no such thing as perfection. I think in every article I read, it notes to not expect everything to go right or to be perfect, because it won’t be. So we need to be flexible and willing to adjust with the issues and changes that arise.
- Make a holiday calendar and to-do list (Beal, n.d.). This is helpful to both the caregiver and the person with HD. I know for my father, it helps him to know what to expect, so to speak. If he can look at what’s coming up, he prepares a little better mentally; if we spring it on him the day of or the day before, then he’s unwilling to go because it’s a last-minute change in his routine. It also helps my mom because she knows what she needs to prepare for him (and for her) before the event.
- Start new traditions – This one has to be my favorite! The article from AARP says, “Instead of focusing on losses and what you and/or your loved ones aren’t able to do this year, try doing something new. If your care recipient has trouble getting around, drive through a holiday light display or watch a holiday concert on TV. If you can’t make it to a holiday gathering, have a video chat. Are your loved ones unable to participate in decorating this year? Invite a friend over to help, with your loved ones nearby to watch and cheer you on. Start a home holiday movie night tradition — or watch old home movies so everyone can participate.”(10 Tips for Caregivers During the Holidays, n.d.)
- Have a safe space. If you have a big get-together at your house, or you’re going to someone else’s house for a get-together, establish a space for you or your loved one to be able to take a break from the noise and commotion. Maybe it’s the patio outside or an empty bedroom, but have somewhere to go to relax for a minute in case you or your loved one needs to.
- Ask for help! This seems to be another one that can be found in EVERY article about surviving the holidays. Ask family and friends to help with cooking or wrapping or doing the shopping. This seems to be the hardest one to do, but it’s the most necessary, because we can’t survive the holidays alone.
If you would like to look at some of the other tips for surviving the holidays, you can visit the following links:
10 Tips for Caregivers During the Holidays. (n.d.). Retrieved from AARP: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/life-balance/info-2018/holiday-stress-tips.html
Beal, E. (n.d.). Surviving the Holidays: Strategies for Caregivers. Retrieved from Benjamin Rose: http://www.benrose.org/SuccessfulAging/sa_0511.pdf
Lauren Holder is the program director for “Help 4 HD Live!”, the first online radio show dedicated to the Huntington’s and Juvenile Huntington’s disease community.
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