Home Instead Senior Care, Birmingham

Take Time for Yourself to Avoid Holiday Caregiver Stress

Friday, December 7, 2012

Adult children need to find ways to take a break from the rigors of caring for their senior loved ones and their own children before the burden becomes too overwhelming. One possibility is respite help from a Home Instead CAREGiverSM.
Q. As a working mother of three children and caregiver to two senior parents, the holidays are among the most stressful times of the year for me. I’m a good manager, so I always get everything done, but I end up frazzled and unhappy by the time it’s all over. What are some things I can do to better manage my stress during this busy time?
Holidays are hectic no matter what, but adding caregiving responsibilities to the mix makes that equation more difficult to balance. More than half (55 percent) of the family caregivers who call upon help from their local Home Instead Senior Care®office appear to have average or significant levels of stress, according to a national survey. We imagine that percentage skyrockets for some by the end of the year. So here’s what you can do:
  • Exercise is vital: If you don’t have time for regular workouts, figure out ways to add movement and exercise into your routine. Walk to the mailbox to send your cards, park opposite the mall entrance or use the stairs instead of the elevator to shop. Ideally, carve out at least 20 minutes three times a week for an activity that you enjoy.
  • Remember to organize: When you get ready to do your holiday shopping, don’t just drive to the mall and go from business to business during your gift search. Sit down, make a shopping list and map your strategy so you don’t have to spend the whole day fighting the crowds.
  • Enlist help: Perhaps a neighbor, friend or relative is heading out to shop and would be willing to pick up a few items for you because you don’t have the time.
  • Look to online purchases: If you’re confident with Internet, most major retail companies are willing to accommodate your orders. Many offer free shipping during the holidays.
  • Proper diet is a must: It’s tempting to eat too much junk and sugar during the holidays. Try to maintain a regular healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.
  • Do something special for yourself: While it may sound frivolous, make time during the season just for you. Get a massage, lunch out with a friend or go to an afternoon matinee movie while the kids are in school.
  • Don’t neglect spiritual needs: Many places of worship are incorporating Saturday night and Sunday night services in addition to multiple morning services, so check out what’s available. Most places of worship have men and women who can make home visits for ministering to you or your senior loved ones or offering communion. Don’t be afraid to call and ask.
  • Ask for help if you need it: Did you know that, according to a Home Instead Senior Care network survey, 72 percent of adults who are providing care for an aging loved one do so without any outside help? To allow time for yourself, ask a neighbor or friend to pick up your kids from school so you can go to lunch or see that movie. Or consider hiring a CAREGiverSM from the local Home Instead Senior Care office. CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured and often provide respite care to busy family caregivers.
Check out other articles on www.CaregiverStress.comSM.

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