Christmas is a stressful time for many people. It’s meant to be a time for family, festivities and fun, but when you’re a carer it can be an incredibly challenging time having to look after someone while dealing with the extra pressures of the holiday season.
So we’ve asked carers to share their tips and advice on how they cope with caring over Christmas.
Helen shared her secret of how she keeps herself and her young son happy in the build-up to the holidays. “Sometimes it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit. So I look and see what charity events are taking place, and try to support as many as I can.
“There’s lots going on, particularly at this time of year.“ She also added that giving to a charitable cause helped her feel ‘Christmasy.’
It’s not only carers that can be overwhelmed by the festivities, but the cared-for can find it distressing.
“My brother is used to a routine, so the holiday can be unsettling for him,“ said Teresa, who cares for her brother with learning difficulties. “So I always talk him through what’s going to be happening on the day. I have to plan ahead to let him know what’s in store as well as being very organised.”
Sometimes it’s hard to maintain focus during the Christmas chaos, so advanced planning is crucial. Make sure you’ve got all the medication you need to see you through to the New Year, and get the emergency contact details for Social Services , your GP and the hospital. Also find out opening and closing times so you know when they are available.
Alison, who is the daughter of a carer, said: “We have a large family, and my mother has always prepared the meal on Christmas Day. However last year, it was evident the stress of looking after Dad, and trying to cater for all of us was too much. So this year we’ve decided to share the load and everyone is pitching in and bringing a dish to share.
“We had to suggest it, as she is very proud and wouldn’t ask for help.”
As a carer it’s important to look after yourself first, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. ’Tis the season of giving and goodwill so don’t hesitate to contact friends and family when you are in need of assistance or if you just need to talk.
We would love for more carers to share their stories on how they cope over the holidays, so please share your stories with us and leave a comment.