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Tips to Help Relieve Caregiver Stress Around the Holidays

Tips to Help Relieve Caregiver Stress Around the Holidays

Today’s caregivers have more demands on their time than ever before. In addition to caring for older loved ones, adult caregivers typically work, care for children and pets, and volunteer in the community. It can be challenging to balance these commitments any time of the year, but it’s especially difficult with the demands of the hectic holiday season. To find peace and joy this holiday season, try these helpful tips to reduce caregiver stress.


All caregivers need time to rest and recharge. However, making time for yourself can feel impossible with your long to-do list. Although asking for help may feel hard, now is the perfect time to do it. Take your neighbor up on their offer to make dinner so you can nap. Put a spa day or afternoon – complete with backup care – on your Christmas list. Look for an adult day center where your loved one can socialize with others, so you can have time to run errands.

2. Lower Your Expectations

There may have been a time when you spent days baking cookies and casseroles from scratch or carefully crafting handmade gifts for loved ones. Maybe you even went caroling around the community with your family and friends or invested hours installing Christmas lights. It’s okay if you can’t do those things now; you can still find ways to make the holidays special. When a tradition brings stress instead of joy into your life, it’s time to make new plans that fit your family.

3. Plan for Potential Issues

Think about what triggers your loved one: crowds, loud noises, long days, etc. You can head off these issues by visiting places when they are less crowded or planning festivities for earlier in the day.

 If you know your loved one is prone to seasonal depression or anxiety, schedule an appointment with their primary care provider (PCP) or mental health professional just before the holiday season starts. You may be able to tweak medication dosages or request a take-as-needed psychiatric medication to help your loved one cope with seasonal stressors.

4. Say No When Needed

Keep things simple this holiday season. You don’t have to attend every event, and you don’t need to buy gifts for everyone you know. Pick a few special celebrations and leave them early if you or your loved one feel exhausted or overwhelmed. Try to organize a gift exchange to limit your purchase of presents.

It’s okay to say no to extra duties or requests for assistance, too. If your boss wants you to work overtime, but you feel like you can’t balance extra shifts with your caregiver duties, say no. If you usually volunteer at the local soup kitchen on Thanksgiving but need to dedicate the day to caring for your loved one, decline this year’s request for help. You can always take on more social events or work-related commitments another time, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t handle them now.

Make the most of this magical time of year by trying the tips above, and don't hesitate to reach out to a Brightview Senior Living community if you're wondering whether your loved one can benefit from a senior living community.

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