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Holiday Boost For Caregivers

By John Adams

Two days following Christmas in 1947, the Saturday Evening Post made feature of a cover of iconic painter Norman Rockwell’s “Tired Salesgirl on Christmas Eve.” In Rockwell’s well known painting, a fatigued looking sales clerk slumps against a wall with her shoes kicked off during a vast array of disheveled dolls and wrapping paper. While we may find this slightly amusing in relating to Rockwell’s whimsical depiction of one careworn holiday worker, there are a large number of Americans feel completely warn out during the holiday period without wrapping a gift or partying through out the season.

These patient caregivers are those who look after their family members or close friend each and every day, 365 days a year. It can be a lonely and thankless position to be in. Caregivers can become tired and worn down easily as they cope with seeing a relative or companion’s condition deteriorate. The Christmas and New Year period can be particularly lonely and difficult as most people are out and about celebrating a great year or their hopes for the upcoming year. Caregivers can feel out of the loop and caught up in the difficult circumstances affecting their loved one.

According to Dan Fox, President Right At Home – Palm Springs and Desert Cities for family caregivers the holidays are particularly challenging because they often feel torn between being there fully for their loved one and wanting to be free to enjoy festivities with family and friends . Caregivers can do both and avoid extra stress and negative feelings that tend to surface during the holidays since there are workable solutions fortunately. We see firsthand how important it is for family caregivers not to feel alone or forgotten while the rest of the community celebrates the season when our staff assists a family with adult home care.” The following ways are suggested by Fox to family caregivers who can lighten their load from now through New Year’s:

Time to change your expectations. Unmet expectations during the busy holidays often causes hopelessness and anger. Instead of setting the standards far too high for caregiving and decorating the house, sending cards, buying gifts, baking goodies, etc., simply reduce the demands to enable you to feel less stressed during the holiday season.

Pay attention to your feelings. Family caregivers deal with a range of emotions from frustration with lack of help to fear over an unpredictable future. It is depressing that the loved one can’t live alone anymore or engage socially like in previous holidays, so caregivers need to set aside time to listen to and work through those hard feelings.

There is no need to always be perfect. Should your Christmas lights not quite line up it’s not bad to feel good about it. If you are only able to spend a minimal amount of time cooking something which everyone enjoys, don’t stress about it. Even if your Christmas cards arrive slightly late, that’s fine, it’s the thought that counts. When you are in the position of caring for someone, people will understand you can’t always get everything exactly right with so many other concerns.

There should be no “shoulds” in the holiday celebrations. Do what makes you happy. Don’t tell yourself you should do anything that does not bring joy or that is not true to your feelings.

Extend compassion to yourself as well. Compassion and gentleness are gifts family caregivers can give back to themselves. Taking time for regular exercise and leisure activities allows for healthy self-care. For their own holiday wish lists, caregivers might enjoy special treats including nail treatments, massages and restaurant gift cards.

Time to let go. Family caregivers can waste a huge amount of emotional energy wishing circumstances were vastly different for their loved one. A key element to deriving enjoyment from the holidays is to stop trying to make changes. Make a promise to end the year letting go of negative attitudes, relationship tensions and previous mistakes that can adversely interfere with the best care for your beloved aged or ill relative.

Make future plans and do not be afraid to seek assistance. Simplify priorities. Consider asking other family members to help with shifts and engage with professional caregivers such as Right at Home to step in with numerous services revolving around respite care, transport, daily meals and housekeeping chores..

People such as Norman Rockwell added a little lightheartedness to the picture-perfect holiday with his depiction of cross-eyed sales clerk who was able to contend with the dreaded Christmas rush. People were not meant to run ragged by doing it all during the holidays, particularly family caregivers who have chosen to greatly reduce their focus on the invaluable gifts of extending love and self-sacrifice to each other.

For more information on In Home Health Care in Palm Springs, visit;

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Adams, John "Holiday Boost For Caregivers." Holiday Boost For Caregivers. 23 Dec. 2012. 25 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Adams, J (2012, December 23). Holiday Boost For Caregivers. Retrieved July 25, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Adams, John "Holiday Boost For Caregivers"

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