Holiday Stress and Caregiver Burnout
The holidays can be a stressful time. This stress can be amplified when you are caring for another person with disabilities or special needs, such as an elderly parent.
It is important to be aware of your own health, and to recognize possible caregiver burnout or compassion fatigue, and to take steps to remedy it.
- You are furious one minute, and sad and hopeless the next.
- You are susceptible to colds and flu, aches and pains.
- You have developed a short temper.
- You can’t find the time to exercise.
- You can’t find the time for other family or friends.
- You feel that you are alone, and the only one who can provide the care required.
- Put your physical needs first: eat well, get plenty of sleep, have regular medical checkups, exercise.
- Connect with friends. Avoid isolation.
- Ask for help.
- Find out what community resources are available, and use them.
- Take a break. Enlist respite care. Have some fun each day.
- Deal with your feelings. Speak to supportive friends or professionals.
- Find time to relax.
- Get organized. Prioritize responsibilities. Don’t expect to be able to do everything.
- Just say no. Again, you can’t do everything.
- Stay positive. Address conflicts through a family meeting or an elder care mediator. Focus on the rewards of helping a loved one.
A free app is available from the Alzheimer’s Association to help manage care and reduce stress. The app helps caregivers coordinate care on a shared calendar, helps manage health information and track medications. The app also has links to Alzheimer’s Association resources.
Have a happy and safe holiday.