Holidays are often the most important days of the year in the lives of elderly people. The Passover and Easter holidays this weekend have been long anticipated, along with the songs and stories of Passover and Easter that are at the heart of their celebrations with family and friends. These traditions remind us all of who we are and where we come from. But, for the elderly, these traditions serve to spark memories and become an opportunity to share special stories.
For their caregivers, however, holidays can be especially stressful. Dealing with visiting family and friends while trying to care for your elderly patient can be a balancing act. Family members who are difficult or in denial about their aging relative, can add a great deal of stress and anxiety. You are already juggling your work load, so it is important to plan and be prepared.
Here are 5 useful holiday survival tips for caregivers:
1) Prepare family members and update them about their senior relative before the visit.
Many families get together only a few times a year and may not see their elderly loved
ones for many months. As the caregiver, you see your patient daily and understand their
behaviors and/or physical decline, such as significant weight loss, being in a wheelchair,
becoming incontinent, etc.
2) Prepare yourself for criticism from your patient’s family or friends, who may be dealing with their own issues of denial or guilt. If you get a hurtful comment, first take a deep breath and try to stay calm; keep your perspective.
3) Allow family members to make suggestions and acknowledge their concerns and
4) Be prepared for relatives who are in denial about their senior relative’s declining health and increasing care needs.
5) Make sure to take a break and care for yourself! There will be many new people to meet, extra pressure and frustration, as well as additional tasks to attend to. When you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, find some time to step away, breathe and if you can, relax for a short time.
For more information and tips about caregiving, contact www.accessnursing.com. ACCESS Nursing Services is the leading regional provider of healthcare personnel to individual patients and prestigious healthcare systems throughout New York, New Jersey and Maryland including five city-center offices and seven hospital-based offices employing more than 2,000 caregivers.