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Dealing with the Holidays as a Family Caregiver - Compiled

Do you feel like taking a slow boat to somewhere and packing in the holidays with it? Some family caregivers do just that if the person they are caring for can travel - perhaps a cruise or resort. Whether it is the first time or several years of spending the holidays while caring for a spouse or parent with an illness such as Alzheimer's, Stroke, MS, Parkinson's and so on, it can be quite challenging. People who have done it for years do have the advantage over those who are caregiving during the holidays for the first time since they have past experience to draw from

In this article, I am compiling writings from other authors since the messages are similar to what I would write to acknowledge, assess and assist you through this time. This way I avoid being redundant.

Acknowledge, Assess, Assist: Start Anew

To beat the holiday blues, Elder Care Alliance advised letting go of expectation, consider letting go of past holiday traditions and make new memories. They quoted Donna Thomson, author of Four Walls of My Freedom, Lessons I've Learned from a Life of Caregiving

Begin with a clean slate. Remember that celebration is what feels good to you

and your loved one now.

Brenda Avadian pointed out the importance of experience and how giving experiential gifts can be so special. She specifically referred to the family who gave an experiential gift as shown in the video that made their mom's last wish come true

Acknowledge, Assess, Assist: Be Proactive, Inclusive, Flexible & Creative

Rena McDaniel, family caregiver and blogger suggested writing an email to all those who will be part of the holiday celebration and update them about the family member's

illness, possibly warning them of potential unusual behaviors and informing of any changes to tradition that may be in order to make the holidays less stressful.

If the caregiver is the host, there may be more control in changing traditions but if the caregiver and care recipient are going over to another family member's home, the email may give a heads up that there will possibly be a shorter duration of celebrating.

Acknowledge, Assess, Assist: Be Kind to Yourself

Self-Care is a buzz word for caregivers. Every writer that writes about or speaker that talks about caring for the caregiver will emphasize the importance of taking care of yourself. Why? Because it is vital. Eat, exercise and sleep well and have those enjoyable

moments during this challenging but yet magical time of year......Best Wishes!

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