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Holidays Can Mean Extra Stress For Family Caregivers

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Many people in Wyoming are looking forward to the upcoming holidays with anticipation, but for people taking care of a loved one the holiday can bring a great deal of added stress.

AARP Family Caregiving advocate Amy Goyer says for Wyoming’s 72,000 caregivers who provide for an elderly family member at home, the idea of adding shopping and entertaining to an otherwise tight schedule can be too much. Her advice is to let yourself off the hook.

“You may not be able to do all of the holiday things this year because there just is not enough time and you have other priorities,” she says. “So you may have to scale back a little but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it at all. And if you choose not to decorate or do some of your holiday traditions this year, that’s okay.”

Goyer says to manage holiday stress caregivers should recognize their own signs of burnout, ask other family members for help and avoid triggering unhappy memories by altering family traditions, if necessary.

The added pressure to make holidays meaningful can be especially difficult for Hispanic caregivers, Goyer says.

“Within the Hispanic culture, it’s a very accepted norm that you’re going to take care of family. And it’s expected and that can actually put a lot of extra pressure on Hispanic caregivers because they feel it’s their duty. But if something doesn’t work out, then there can be a lot of shame involved.”

Goyer says that in surveys Hispanic caregivers consider a lack of money to be the biggest stress of the holidays. This list of 10 tips for family caregivers can help stress management during the holidays.

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