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Self Care Tips

When Holidays Include Caregiving

Karen Rowinsky - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The decorations are in the stores and the music is in the air, yet it's not even Thanksgiving! But, if  you, or someone you know, is taking care of an aging or ill partner, parent or child, you may find the following tips helpful. They were generously shared by Kelly Loeb, MSW, who at the time she wrote  them, was an Aging Specialist at the Shepherd's Center of Kansas City. This list may be just  the thing to help you and your loved one enjoy the holiday season.

·    Prepare family and friends for any changes your loved one has experienced since the last time everyone got together. Remind guests to be compassionate and patient, especially with care recipients with memory loss.   
·    When asked what's on your wish list, let people know you could use help with meal preparation, grocery shopping, housekeeping, and even having them spend time with your loved one so that you can have a break. This is a gift that will certainly be the right color, shape and size, and requires no wrapping!   
·    As you deck your halls, watch out for power cords, tree decorations and gift boxes - these can be trip and fall risks for you and your loved ones! Keep walkways clear and fragile items out of reach.
·    What a wonderful time this is for cherishing old memories and creating new ones! While all the family gathers 'round, encourage your loved one to share stories of holidays past. Appoint someone to take notes and pictures, and you'll be able to create a priceless keepsake.

·    Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! That's a popular refrain this time of year - and here's a suggestion for a couple of newverses: Keep it slow! Let it go! Amid all the hustle and bustle of gift-giving, festive food eating and ushering in the new year, it's easy for caregivers (and their loved ones) to get overwhelmed by so much activity. Sticking to a regular, low-key routine as often as possible will minimize confusion and stress for both of you. Schedule special events like visits and meals early in the day, leaving the afternoons and evenings free for relaxing and taking it easy.

You also may want to check out the The Shepherd's Center to help you on your caregiving journey. This list of helpful apps for caregivers was recently in their newsletter. 

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