Find out how you can make Christmas special for all members of the family as a family caregiver.
The UK is jam-packed full of family caregivers just like you. 1 in 10 people are family caregivers, and 3 in 5 people will become a carer at some point in their lives.
There’s a lot of caring going on, which is commendable and admirable because it isn’t necessarily the easiest position to be in. Particularly at Christmas when everybody in the family has needs, hopes and wishes. As a family caregiver it can be really tricky to make Christmas special for yourself, for the loved one you care for and everybody else, but it is possible. Take a look at these tips to help your Christmas as a caregiver be as wonderful as possible for all involved:
Think About Yourself
You might be surprised to see this at the top of the list but, it really is the most important thing you can do for everyone this Christmas. If you are tired, exhausted and burnt out, you won’t be able to be a good carer. You will also suffer in your own feelings, which you absolutely shouldn’t have to do. You may also impact the Christmas of your loved ones who will worry for you. So you really do need to put yourself first, reach out for rest bite and get some support whether that comes from services your GP can connect you with, from another family member taking over care for a short while, or from an extra homecare service over the holidays.
Include The Loved One You Care For
Caring for a person can feel like a bit of a job, and unfortunately they can become a list of tasks to us, and we can forget about the person temporarily. At Christmas this is even more likely, which is important to avoid because, it is their Christmas too. There are lots of ways to include them in Christmas and help them feel valued and special too including:
- Helping them get gifts to give
- Helping manage guests and visits to be smaller in numbers if larger groups distress them
- Asking them their thoughts and opinions on things like Christmas dinner
- Asking them if they want to help put the decorations up, write Christmas cards and other festive activities
- Taking them to Christmas events with people of a similar age
- Helping them connect with other family members and friends either in person or through Skype or social media
Keep Things Normal
Keeping things normal is how you can ensure each and every family member including you, has a special time this Christmas. Keeping your Christmas routine as close to how it usually is as possible, will help everybody avoid feeling like everything has changed. You can still have a bit of fizz on Christmas morning, the kids can still come over with their kids, and you can still all watch movies and fall asleep after dinner. There are some challenges yes, but it is still a special time and there’s every reason it can be as normal as possible for all of you.
Do You Need Help?
If you really are struggling, you must seek help. Whether you ask your family member for an afternoon to yourself whilst they care for your loved one, or you approach a homecare service and ask about live-in care, you must seek help if you need it. Speak to your GP, take a look at The Live-in Care Hub and https://www.carersuk.org/ and don’t be afraid to reach out. Getting the support you need will make this time of year much easier for all of you, and you all deserve a fantastic Christmas.