For many of us, Christmas and New Year is a great time of year. Eating, drinking, catching up with friends and family. An opportunity to reflect on the year just gone and look forward to the year ahead.
If you’re caring for a loved one this can be a difficult period for both of you. The festive traditions carry on but in reality, it’s a disruption to your routine. Many of your essential services close or operate on an emergency basis.
The majority of this year has been extremely difficult for those caring for loved ones. Which is why Christmas needs to be an opportunity for you to share and enjoy what this season has to offer. So, here are some top tips on how you can achieve this for everyone.
Create a plan to enjoy your Christmas
Even when you don’t have the additional responsibilities of being a Carer, there is so much to think about and organise at Christmas. Cards, presents and food. But you can make a plan and use a range of services available to make your life easier.
Shopping can be a nightmare. Whether you’re looking for presents or some special food only available this time of year. Online shopping can be a real help. You can do this in the comfort of your loved ones home and get them involved.
No pushing or shoving in overcrowded shops. Simply choose together, book a delivery slot and wait for everything to arrive.
Medication is always an important factor. Doctor’s surgeries will close for a period so make sure you have what you need. Check your supplies and ensure repeat prescriptions are submitted in plenty of time. GPs are very understanding and prepared for the festive period.
You may have reached the stage where you need additional care support. It’s better to arrange this as early as you can. Your loved one needs to be comfortable with who you choose. Organising this ahead of Christmas would certainly help you.
Maintain your routine as much as possible
So much of the care given is based on a daily routine. This is an important part of the care you provide to your loved one. It gives them a sense of security whilst being safe in their home. Which is why it’s important to maintain your routine.
It can help if you look at it from their perspective. It is just another day. Their wellbeing and health should be the priority. You don’t want to increase stress levels by changing what happens short-term.
Taking them out of their home to visit relatives might not be the best option. Particularly at this time of year with short days, dark evenings and cold weather. But there is no reason you can’t increase activity in their home.
Family and friends could pop in for a chat or meal. Make sure you have planned this into your routine and you control who is coming and going. Only you will understand how much disruption your loved one will be able to cope with.
Ensure your loved one is involved
It’s very easy to get carried away with Christmas. There is a child in all of us that just wants to embrace the magic. But remember to involve your loved one. Don’t just organise everything for them and let Christmas happen to them.
The shopping element has already been mentioned. If you have an iPad or tablet you can sit together and view the different present options then make a purchase. Then you can share the experience of wrapping.
Writing Christmas cards might take a bit longer. It will depend on whether you need to write everything or if you can share the activity. Delivering cards by hand will be easy and probably something you can do for them. Hopefully, you already have a list of addresses for those that need to be posted.
Putting up decorations can be done together. This can be stressful for some and if that is the case do it with them slowly. Maybe over a week. No rule says you have to put everything up on the same day.
And don’t be anxious if you arrive the following day to find the decorations have been taken down. If they are happy to, it’s another opportunity to put them up again.
All these activities will add time to your day. They aren’t something you need to do every day but will provide a focus for your loved one. A chance to slow down if only for a moment and share this special time of year with them.
Make a plan for some additional support
One of the most important things you need to do is find additional help. You must spend time with your family and celebrate together. Family and friends are often willing to help and you should embrace these offers.
Speak to family members about Christmas and then agree what you’re going to do together. As the main Carer, you will know what needs to be done and can guide others. Friends can visit to ensure your loved one is not on their own.
If you already have additional carers in place, you can arrange for increased visits. Age Care Advice offer support 365 days a year which means you can rely on us whatever the time of year. Already familiar faces that your loved one will recognise and trust.
Above all else, it’s important to remain flexible at Christmas which can be a challenge at such a busy time of year. There will be disruptions to your normal routine but you can minimise these. An increase in visitors and lots of different faces can be unnerving.
As a Carer you will be able to read the signs. You will know if a situation is developing and can make changes. Be sympathetic to how your loved one is feeling on the day. You might be excited about Christmas but they may just want a normal day.
How will you be spending your Christmas as a Carer?