Your Holiday Survival Guide

maxim2_Christmas_ballsYou sit expectantly by the window in your living room, watching for the blue van that brings your daughter and her family for their visit. Although the holidays are hectic, this is the part of the season you relish: The opportunity to see those family members and friends who rarely drop by anymore. These visits mean a great deal to you; for a few hours, you can be someone other than a caregiver.

You feel good about how the day has started: You had little trouble readying your husband for the visit. The home health aide arrived on time to assist with bathing and dressing. You even had plenty of time to get ready yourself. Your spouse keeps you company in the living room, watching for the van from the wheelchair you’ve positioned next to your chair. Yes, today you feel good.

Tonight, however, you feel terrible. The visit has turned into nothing less than a nightmare. Your daughter was shocked to see her father in a wheelchair, even though you told her that he needed one. Then, she was upset at the cost of the home health aide, demanding to know why you couldn’t bathe him yourself. “You’re home all day, Mom,” she said. “Why do you need someone to help out, especially if you’ve got the time?”

Speechless that your daughter, who has always been so supportive and kind, could be so, well, mean-spirited, you’ve been unable to utter one word in your defense. Now, as you sit on your bed, rewinding the events of the day in your mind, you can feel your face getting redder and redder. “How dare she,” you think, “how dare she imply that I’m not doing what’s best for my husband!” Now, too angry to sleep, you pace your bedroom floor. “What a way to spend the holidays,” you sigh.

Ho, Ho, Ho. It’s the holidays, a time that should be for loving family traditions but often becomes the catalyst for tension-filled family rifts. In this special section, we’ll offer practical tips to help survive the holidays, including those unpleasant run-ins with sometimes well-meaning, but always out-spoken, family members. We’ll talk about ways you can prevent these emotionally-exhausting encounters, as well as ways to deal with situations when you get side-swiped. And, we’ll offer tips on handling the Holiday MeltDown. So, during the holiday season, you’ll have a chance to rest your caregiving hat—even if it’s for a few minutes.

Read more in our Holiday Survival Guide.

Avatar of Denise

About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

One thought on “Your Holiday Survival Guide

  1. Avatar of PegiPegi

    Read this a bit late. At the beginning of the blog I sat here smiling and nodding in agreement. Yes, life is grand. We sit, we wait and oh my, here they come! The excitement, greetings and joy that our family brings at first site. As I continued to read, the “oh, my” turned into a what the heck? After coming to the end of the blog, I could not help but think “Sometimes is nice when its just my husband and I”. That’s how our Thanksgiving was this year; quiet, calm and lovely.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>