Dear Mary
“The Holidays”

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Dear Mary,

It’s not even December, and I am already stressed out about the Holidays. As a caregiver, I already have so much on my plate. Any ideas to help reduce my stress will be greatly appreciated.

Ruth

Hello Ruth:

“The Holidays” are indeed stressful. I am amazed that this time of year is still called “The Holidays”. The “Holidays” are full of unrealistic expectations, overspending, over indulging and in general are just over rated – some Holiday!!!

As a caregiver, you often have even more to manage. Sometimes out-of-town family and friends drop by to help out (or not). There never seems to be enough time or money to do everything. During December, I will write several suggestions and tips to help family caregivers survive “The Holidays”. Here are the first two ideas.

1. Be Honest

Tell your family and friends that you have enough on your plate as a caregiver this year and ask that others take on more responsibilities to host family events and feasts. You need to limit their expectations. If you are not honest with them, you will only be angry with yourself. Try pushing back – just this year – as much as you can and watch what happens. My guess is that others will organize and host events just fine.

2. The Gift of “Time”

The best caregivers know when and how to ask for help. They know their limits. Tell your family that what you really need as a gift this year is more time for yourself. Instead of buying store bought gifts, ask others to take on your caregiving tasks for a couple of hours. Think of the “Holidays” as a few more hours just for yourself. A few hours to let you escape from caregiving will be worth more than any store bought gift. If they cannot offer the gift of time themselves, then perhaps they could hire someone to replace you as a caregiver for a couple of hours. Many agencies have hourly rates – why not ask for that as a gift?

Ruth: I hope that you try to work or adapt these two ideas into your life this December. I know how difficult and emotional this time of year is on family caregivers. I wish you well.

Mary

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Caregiving Matters

Mary is a daughter. She also Chairs our charity. Mary has also held Director roles on three other boards, most recently with The Palcare Network of York Region.

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