The Passover and Easter holidays can be joyful, with family gatherings, festive meals and potentially time off from work. Many people consider these seasonal holiday celebrations to be their favorite times of the year.
However, these holidays can also be very stressful, especially if you experience frustration, anxiety or depression, if you’ve lost a loved one, or you’re struggling with finances. If you are a caregiver for an elderly or disabled relative, you may be familiar with the additional stress this time of year may have on them.
Here are five ways you can make the holidays less stressful and more successful this season.
Keep the guest list short. Keeping holiday gatherings small can reduce stress on your relatives. You may have grown up with large holiday dinners and parties that involved friends and extended family, but now that some family members may be elderly, you might want to shorten the guest list. A smaller celebration can be calmer and less socially-demanding on your loved one.
Avoid over-scheduling. The days and weeks leading up to a holiday can be very busy, packed with shopping, small gatherings and other social commitments. It might be tempting to try to pack in as much as you can each day and into each trip, but your elderly relative may not have the same stamina as you do. Pare down your activities, and build in some time for your relative to rest, if necessary.
Include your relatives in holiday planning. Make sure you ask your relative who they’d like to see and what they’d like to do during the holiday. Involving your relatives in making plans and decisions can help them feel that they’re opinion is valued. Ask for input on everything, including menus, gifts, decorations, errands and guest lists. Your loved one will be less stressed if they feel that they have some control over the flow of holiday activities.
Stick to normal routines. Making sure your loved one sticks to his or her normal activities at the usual times can help reduce stress levels for both you and your loved one. Some of the benefits of setting and keeping routines are reducing uncertainty, allowing for greater independence, and even helping with sleep quality. Your loved one may already have routines in place around meal times, taking medication, waking and sleep time, and exercise.
Streamline daily tasks. While taking measures to simplify everyday chores is important at all times of the year, streamlining tasks can make a huge difference in reducing stress at holiday times. If it’s difficult to get out to the supermarket, sign up to get groceries delivered. If your relative has trouble getting to the pharmacy for prescription refills and is having trouble managing multiple medications, consider a pill pack pharmacy like PersonalRX, which delivers customized dose packs of your loved one’s medication every 30 days.
If over the coming holidays you expect to see an older relative you haven’t been with in a while, and have some concerns about their health, try out our PRX Check. It provides tips on dealing with specific concerns and links to information for keeping them safe and healthy. Plus, it only takes a couple of minutes!
Holidays with your family can be tricky, but they can also be a time of joy and fun for everyone, no matter what their age and health. With a little advanced planning, these gatherings can become cherished memories for your aging parent or relative, and those who love them.