As the Jewish holidays approach, as well as Thanksgiving, then Chanukah, many of us are looking forward to celebrations, giving thanks and family gatherings.
Unfortunately, for many caregivers, preparing for the holidays is stressful as they also continue to take care of a loved one.
Caregivers have been referred to as “the sandwich generation” because as they take care of themselves, they are also caring for their children as well as a parent. The sandwich generation is now being called the “the panini generation” because they face increased pressure.
I often teach caregivers how to deal with their stress and reduce it. Here are some tips that may help:
• Put your oxygen mask on first! When you are on a plane one of the first instructions is, in the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first, so that you can then help others who depend on you. This applies to caregivers as well. You must find time for yourself every day. It could be going for a walk, reading, listening to music, exercising or anything that calms you or that you enjoy.
• Ask for help without feeling guilty. As a caregiver, you do not have to provide all the help yourself. Most caregivers are family members, and often one family member carries the bulk of the
responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to
ask for help!
• Tell friends and family that instead of bringing gifts or flowers on special occasions, you would prefer “acts of kindness,” such as giving you some relief a couple hours a week so that you can have some alone time. Ask them to bring something for the holiday meal, such as a kugle, dessert or maybe just help with the grocery shopping,
• Give thanks. Appreciate and be thankful for all that you do have, family, friends — and being a caregiver. As a caregiver you are providing your loved one quality of life as well as quality of care.
I hope these tips have been helpful and your holidays are blessed and less stressful.
L’shana tova. PJC
Jeff Weinberg, M.Ed., M.PH, NHA, is a Nationally Certified Health Care Advocate and owner of Caregiver Champion, LLC.