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Posted: December 21, 2005

Professional Caregiving

Holiday Celebrations and Realizations

November and December typically mean a lot of holiday visiting with family and friends who we haven’t seen in a while. We like to “go home” for the holidays. I know I do.
 
For those of us in the business of helping families and their aging loved ones, this often means a lot of phone calls from frantic family members, right after Thanksgiving, and right after the first of the new year.
 
Adult children of aging parents have been making those Sunday phone calls without fail for months, checking on Mom and Dad, making sure everything is OK. The reality is that sometimes phone calls just aren’t enough. It’s not until we actually set eyes on our loved ones that we realize there might be a problem.
 
Perhaps bills have gone unpaid, or the house isn’t being kept up the way it used to be. Maybe Mom just isn’t getting around the way she used to, or someone took a drive with her to the grocery store, and realized she shouldn’t be driving anymore.
 
Whatever the case, as professional caregivers, we are there to comfort and assist families with whatever issues they bring to the table. Adding the usual stresses of the holiday season with the realization that an aging loved one needs care, can be completely overwhelming. For the professional caregiver, this can also be a stressful time, as we try to enjoy the holidays with our own families, and also help those who are struggling.
 
So here is a little reminder on ways to beat stress this holiday season. This formula works equally well for the professional caregiver and the family caregiver:
  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Try not to worry about things out of your control.
  • Problem solve with people around you. Ask them to help you alleviate stress.
  • Saying “no” is an art form and during the holidays, there's no better gift you can give yourself. Your first priority should be taking care of yourself--if you don't, nothing will get done. Make priorities and decide which functions you must attend, which tasks you can delegate to the spouse or kids and then say no to everything else
  • Exercise. A few extra minutes of exercise a day can benefit your overall health.
  • Eat nutritional food. Decrease the amount of fat and sugar you eat.
  • Meditate, or take a class in relaxation and stretching techniques --like Tai Chi or Yoga.
  • Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages
  • Rest. Try to get eight hours of sleep each day.
  • Get a massage. A massage can be beneficial for the mind and body.
  • Laughter is the best medicine! If you find yourself getting way too stressed, it’s time to take a laughter break no matter how busy you think you are.

_____

Valerie VanBooven RN, BSN, PGCM, is a registered nurse, professional geriatric care manager, author, and professional speaker. She is a leading expert on long-term care planning and crisis management. Valerie is president of Senior Care Solutions, a private geriatric care management practice in the St. Louis area. Her books include Aging Answers: Secrets to Successful Long-Term Care Planning, Caregiving, and Crisis Management and her website is www.4seniorsathome.com. She can be reached at ASKvalerie@caregivershome.com. .

© 2005 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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