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The gift of respect in relationships: Caregiving during the holidays
Posted in Aging, Family, Relationships - 0 Comments


Caring for the elderly or invalid during the festive time of the year can bring joy or burden. It’s important for caregivers to avoid emotional burnout, which is a frequent occupational hazard, according to Melinda Smith, M.A., and Gina Kemp, M.A., contributors with HelpGuide.

“If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your health, relationships and state of mind — eventually leading to burnout. When you’re burned out, it’s tough to do anything, let alone look after someone else,” Smith and Kemp wrote.

They also listed signs of caregiver burnout, such as:

  • Helplessness and hopelessness
  • Constant exhaustion
  • Decrease of satisfaction
  • Poor life and work balance
  • Frequent illness
  • Impatience and irritability with the patient

Smith and Kemp explained that taking care of burnout as soon as possible is necessary for the health of both the caregiver and patient. Amy Goyer, a writer with the AARP, proposed several strategies for this demographic facing hardships during the holidays.

“Think about what you can accomplish instead of what you can’t; celebrate what your loved ones can do, rather than mourning what they can no longer participate in; revel in the holiday joys you will experience, instead of missing those you’ll bypass; appreciate the help you are receiving rather than resenting those who aren’t supportive,” Goyer said.

She also asserted that planning ahead can help with both finishing projects and skipping unnecessary or burdensome events. Prioritizing is key for caregivers and their patients wanting joy without the hassle.

Asking for help may also be necessary, Goyer advised. This can include family, friends or professional help. Caretakers can also benefit from therapy, as they also have emotional needs that can fall to the wayside when putting a patient first.

Similar concerns present when the patient has Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia – a set of symptoms common among Alzheimer’s patients – can be especially frustrating for families and friends unable to cope when a loved one is no longer at his or her mental best.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommended that these families conduct dialogue concerning this mental decline, especially if members live apart and only see the patient during special events. The organization encouraged sentences such as, “I’m writing to let you know how things are going at our house. While we’re looking forward to your visit, we thought it might be helpful if you understood our current situation before you arrive.” At this point, the caregiver can explain the patient’s condition and prepare him or her for adjusted expectations.

Loving a family member during the holidays and respecting yourself at the same time can be difficult. It’s a challenge to balance commitments to others and yourself. Luckily, Sovereign Health Group of Arizona is here to help women take care of themselves when it’s difficult to do so. Call us at any time for mental health help or addiction treatment.

The gift of respect in relationships: Solutions for family fights during the holidays

Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer

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