‘Tis the season for joy and togetherness, but for those of us navigating the tricky terrain of the sandwich generation, especially daughters caring for senior parents, it can also be a time of added stress. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance and AARP, around 53 million Americans are taking care of aging family members or friends each year, and during the holidays, these caregivers face increased stress due to added responsibilities and expectations.
With the constant juggling act of caring for our aging loved ones and tending to our own families, it’s easy to feel like we’re walking a tightrope. However, with some careful planning and a few simple strategies, you can maintain joy and create meaningful moments during the holidays.
In this blog, we’ll explore five simple tips to help you navigate this demanding role with grace and keep the holiday spirit alive.
1. Delegate and Share Responsibilities
No need to don a one-person holiday show – share the responsibilities of holiday preparations and caregiving with other family members. A survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving found that when other family members jump in to help with caregiving duties, it lightens the load for the primary caregivers, meaning less stress and a better overall sense of well-being.
So, round up the troops—children, siblings, your spouse, even your extended family—and team up! Working together, collaborating and sharing the load means everyone gets to savor the holiday cheer while ensuring our older loved ones receive the care they need.
If you don’t have someone in the family available to share the load, why not consider hiring someone? Sometimes, the relief gained by entrusting certain responsibilities to others is invaluable. You work hard throughout the year, and you deserve a bit of support during this hectic time.
You can also think creatively about how to tap into local resources. Community organizations, volunteers or church friends might be more than willing to extend a helping hand. Consider reaching out to neighbors or that industrious teenager down the street who could handle tasks like mowing the lawn, shoveling snow or assisting with errands. Sometimes, a small investment in their service can yield big returns in the form of restored sanity and cherished moments spent with your family.
3. Prioritize Self-Care
As the holiday season ramps up, it’s crucial to embrace the adage often heard on airplanes: “Put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” While it might seem counterintuitive, taking care of yourself is the foundation for being able to take care of others effectively.
Whether you choose a relaxing bubble bath, a juicy novel or a leisurely walk, make self-care a non-negotiable part of your holiday routine. Remember, you’re not just doing a good job; you’re doing a fantastic one, and you absolutely deserve some “me time.”
4. Create New Traditions
Take a moment to focus on what truly brings joy to your family, and don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit. Consider adapting or even creating new traditions that work seamlessly with your current situation. It’s like adding a dash of cinnamon to your traditional holiday recipe—just enough to enhance the flavor and make it uniquely yours.
5. Let Go
Let’s face it—chasing perfection during the holidays is like trying to catch a snowflake with your bare hands. It’s a common trap we all fall into: aiming for the picture-perfect home décor and a feast that rivals those seen on cooking shows. But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to loosen our grip on this idea of perfection—it’s the moments of joyful chaos, love and togetherness that truly make the season bright. By keeping your holiday expectations realistic, you’ll avoid unnecessary stress and have the energy to focus on what truly matters.
Juggling the demands of the sandwich generation isn’t easy, but it’s also an extraordinary opportunity to weave a tapestry of lasting memories. So, think of these tips as your secret ingredients for a season filled with joy and warmth for both you and your beloved family members. The truth is, you’re doing an incredible job, and the love and care you provide are the best gifts you can give your family during your holiday celebrations.
About the Author
Naborforce is all about connecting older adults and their families who need a helping hand with compassionate Nabors who are eager to lend one.
Are you facing the holiday season with an aging parent who could benefit from a helping hand? Naborforce can provide the assistance they need at home, around town and offer opportunities for connection and enjoyment. And the best part? It grants you peace of mind and allows you to spend quality time with your parents.
Call 844.MyNabor or visit our services page to learn how we can help!