The holidays are the perfect time to connect with family, friends, and loved ones. The holidays are the time to be joyful. This year, unfortunately, rings different.
The luxury of being around family and friends is no longer encouraged due to the pandemic. With the recent surge of the Coronavirus in our community, it is highly encouraged to stay at home and to keep to a minimum gathering with family and friends for everyone’s safety.
This new approach to the holidays can pose as a stressful time for everyone, especially caregivers.
Caregivers’ schedules during this time can also prove to be lonely. It can be harder to schedule and take time off to see their own family and loved ones. The holidays can pose as a stressful and lonely time for caregivers, rather than a joyful one.
If you are a caregiver, here are some tips to ease the loneliness this holiday season.
- Instead of trying to duplicate the annual bountiful feast consider sharing an easily eaten appetizer or pumpkin/pecan bars instead of pies on the front lawn or sidewalk for a few minutes with family and friends before or after a designated meal hour. Seeing your loved ones, masked, from a distance, in person can be joyful and sharing food is still a celebratory act. The glow will linger as everyone retreats back to their respective homes
- Buy stamps online and some Holiday cards. The effort spent signing your name and if you feel like it, a short message connects you to friends and loved ones in a more powerful way than a thumbs up on Facebook.
- Volunteer. Giving back and helping others can be uplifting. There are plenty organizations that need volunteers especially during the holiday season.
- Seek respite care. It is nice to just get a breather for yourself, to protect your mental health, and to take care of your overall well-being. Neighbor Network of Northern Nevada (N4) provides free respite care services to unpaid caregivers. Respite services can be provided in the home, or by taking the person into the community. To learn more, visit http://neighbornv.org/. Seniors in Service also offers the Senior Companion Program. Senior volunteers provide basic social support to seniors over the age of 60 who live alone or need respite care. To sign up, download Senior in Service’s volunteer application here.
- Ask for help. If you are struggling with isolation, reach out for more support. Call someone you trust and let them know just how you are feeling. The Washoe Caregivers Email Discussion Group is a good place to connect with other caregivers. Join the Caregiver Support Initiative’s Email Discussion Group to connect with other family caregivers to give each other advice, ask each other questions, and discuss caregiving-related topics. To sign up, visit https://washoecaregivers.org/connect/.
The Alzheimer’s Association also offers caregiver support groups. To learn more about their support groups, click here or call 800-272-3900. For more support groups, click here.
Remind yourself that we are all in this together and that you are not alone. Take comfort in the realization that this year will pass, and we will eventually be able to share hugs and tidings of good cheer.