Posts

Ways to Celebrate Family Caregivers this Holiday Season

While National Family Caregiver Month may be over, NOAH knows two things:

  1. Caregivers deserve to be honored, appreciated, and supported all year.
  2. Being a family caregiver during 2020 has meant something different than in past years.

Caregivers who are helping family members, friends, or loved ones who are aging in place or dealing with an illness (or both) give so much of themselves all year. How should you celebrate a caregiver in your life through the holiday season; especially during the 2020 COVID pandemic? We have some ideas.

But first, understand that being a caregiver during 2020 has been a much different experience.

Many adult and child daycare centers have closed at some point during 2020. Now, many of those places are functioning at a reduced capacity. What those care centers provide is a sense of community for the aging or ill individual, and respite for the caregiver.

Organizations that may have provided other types of support, like meal deliveries, have changed or cancelled how they serve people because of COVID. These services could provide much-needed support and a welcome face.

Lastly, there is stress and concern. Caring for older adults and people chronic illnesses or diseases can be even harder when a virus is in the community that is especially dangerous to the individual you are caring for. Caregivers may be taking extra precautions.

This gives everyone even more reason to celebrate these individuals throughout the holiday season! Here are some ideas:

  • Food is always a welcome choice! If you can order meals to have delivered or drop off something for the caregiver so they don’t have to cook for themselves later, that will be a welcome gift.
  • Help stock their supplies. If you know what they need to provide care, you can help them out with extra supplies, or even books, games, puzzles, or other activities the patient or caregiver enjoy.
  • Personal pampering for caregivers. A personalized coffee mug for the coffee lover, a calming candle for the caregiver who likes to create a peaceful space, a journal for the writer, and lotion for everyone – because we are all (thankfully) washing our hands a lot more – are all great ways to show appreciation.

Everyone loves a thoughtful gift but showing gratitude and understanding for the hard work caregivers do every day is one of the nicest ways to celebrate them this holiday season and all year.

National Family Caregiver Month – Take Time for You

By Katelyn Millinor, LPC

Each November, we take the time to honor Family Caregivers – those who devote their lives to providing care for their family members or friends who are elderly, ill, or disabled. The demands of caregiving can be challenging, overwhelming, and tiresome. It can also be rewarding and fulfilling. Caregivers often give so much of themselves to their family member or friend. It is important to remember you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.

Common family caregiver experiences may include:

  • Tiredness – Most individuals caring for a loved one also work outside of the home in addition to their caregiving responsibilities.
  • Depression – The demands of jugging multiple responsibilities or seeing your loved one age or change due to illness or disability can be upsetting. There is no shame in feeling upset or overwhelmed.
  • Diminished relationships – Caregiving is not a 9-5 job. A loved one may need care around the clock. The emotional, physical, and time demands of care giving may interfere with other relationships.
  • Lack of self care – Caregivers often neglect their own self-care in order to provide for their loved one. This can include not attending medical appointments and not participating in leisure activities.

Caregivers provide for their loved one due to a sense of responsibility, their culture, fulfillment and love. We honor those who provide and recognize the increased difficulty of caregiving during a pandemic as this brings its own unique challenges.

If you are a family caregiver, here are some useful tips:

  • Seek support from other caregivers: If you have others that are willing to help try to be open to splitting responsibilities. You do not have to do this alone. Also be sure to check out Family Caregiver Support Groups.
  • Increase your own self-care: Make your own mental and physical health a priority! Reach out to your physician or mental health counselor if needed.
  • Take a break when you can: Whether it’s a quick nap, sleeping in, or doing something that is relaxing, be sure to take time for yourself.
  • Give yourself credit: You are doing one of the toughest jobs out there!

Family caregivers do tremendous work for their family member, neighbor or friend and they deserve support and appreciation. Looking for support in your role as a caregiver, NOAH can help.