Stress is more common among those who care for elderly adults than those who don’t. Caregiver stress can lead to a variety of potentially serious complications and issues, and if it becomes overwhelming and excessively frequent, it can become burnout.
Family caregivers are particularly vulnerable to burn out during the holiday season when more pressure is placed on them than on any other time of the year. Burnout can threaten your physical health and well-being, diminish your enjoyment of the holiday season, and even lead to you not being able to give your parent the care they need. Making a concerted effort to avoid burnout during the holiday season is an important step toward being the best you can be for yourself and everyone else in your life.
Use these tips to help you avoid burnout during the holiday season:
- Be realistic about your expectations for the holiday season. There is no such thing as a perfect holiday. Some things will not turn out the way you want them too, and things will inevitably go wrong. Don’t let this discourage you and prevent you from enjoying the holidays you do have. Set realistic goals and optimistic but approachable expectations about the season, and be willing to adapt as necessary
- Be flexible. Things can change suddenly, and resisting this change can lead to frustration, anger, stress, and greater risk for burnout. Being flexible means being willing to adapt to the changes and making the most of them. This doesn’t mean you can’t feel disappointment or try to make things happen the way you’d like them too. Instead, it means knowing that these moments won’t last forever and soon the holiday season will be behind you so you should make the most of them while they’re here
- Be willing to accept help. It can be very hard for some family caregivers to accept help when it comes to caring for their loved ones. Just because you are a family caregiver does not mean you need to do everything on your own. Let others be there for you to offer support and assistance. Accept help that’s offered to you, and take the opportunity to relax and to take care of yourself as well
- Be willing to say no. Many people do a tremendous amount of volunteer work and participate in many activities during the holiday season. This is a wonderful way to enhance this time of the year, but as a family caregiver, your time is not as open and flexible as it used to be. Don’t be afraid to say no when it’s necessary, prioritize the things that are most important to you, and step back away from those you simply don’t have the time and energy to do
Being the best caregiver you can be for your aging parent means taking care of yourself as well. Ignoring your own needs and not meeting your basic requirements for too long leaves you exhausted, stressed, and vulnerable to illness and burnout. Making eldercare a regular part of your care routine with your senior is a valuable way to take care of yourself as well as your parents.
With the personalized services of an elderly home care services provider available to your parents, you can take a step back and focus more energy and attention on yourself as well as the other obligations in your life. This means your senior is getting everything they need while you are able to protect your own well-being and be the best caregiver you can be for your senior and everyone else who relies on you.