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Navigating CareGiving Through The Holidays

Lisa Gates December 2020 new

Care Giver Kuel Category Expert: Lisa Gates

A new age has dawned and now we navigate the traditional caregiving role into a new era. The “tips of the trade” changed.

First, if you are a caregiver caring for a loved one at home, there are now questions with how you even spend the holidays with family and loved ones. Or, if you are like me and have a family member that is out of the area and not living at your home and living alone, difficult decisions need to be made.

“My tip is to discuss the subject openly with family members and have frank conversations.”

The Thanksgiving holiday is now behind us with only less than a month to make another crucial decision—how are we going to spend the next holiday? I am not going to “tell” anyone what the decision should be. You have heard it all in the news—follow CDC guidelines, the risk of spread with travel and weighing “risk” factors. My tip is to discuss the subject openly with family members and have frank conversations. These conversations may be difficult; but will allow each person to openly share their feelings and reach a decision that all members can feel a part of.  

A suggestion may be to celebrate this summer or after the pandemic subsides. Start making plans now so the “let down” is a little less stressful. And, planning for future travel can be fun. It could also serve as a holiday gift, a present where presence will become the true gift! Regulations can change daily so it is best to have an alternate plan in place.  We changed our Thanksgiving plans “last minute” due to CDC guidelines and a spike in Covid cases both in our area and the area that we were traveling along with state restrictions and testing. Most hotels, Airbnb and airlines will give a full refund.   

Use Your Local Resources

There are several local nonprofit organizations that have resources to help make this time a bit easier. National organizations have support groups and most have local offices. Reach out and talk to a representative that can tell you what programs are available in your area. Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, Parkinson’s and other organizations can provide local support, so you do not have to navigate this journey alone. There are also senior centers and groups that provide services to seniors — the only criteria–one is a “senior”. Another uncommon resource is the Nextdoor application. Neighborhood groups have formed as a result of Covid and some are geared toward helping neighbors who need some extra help.

Take ME Time

“consider asking a neighbor or researching organizations that provide complimentary respite programs”

Caregiver burnout results from not caring for one’s self. Make sure you do things for yourself, especially if you are caring for someone at home during the holidays which can become stressful for all of us. I cannot get away, so you say, ah, but you can!  Hire some respite –there are plenty of home health companies that can come in while you take some time to do things you need done. Sometimes even Medicare will pay for these services if you are eligible. If you cannot afford private pay, consider asking a neighbor or researching organizations that provide complimentary respite programs. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation recently promoted Respite Relief at No Cost. All one needs to do is apply online.   

Gifting During A Crisis

Now is the perfect time to support your Kuel Life women-driven brands. This will provide a unique shopping experience where you can be sure your items will be personally packaged and shipped while supporting an entrepreneur! Etsy also provides unique resources and gift ideas. I recently connected with an “old” (worked together many years ago) colleague and found that she become an “angel” artist who creates and sells her paintings through Crystal Cottage Creations. This is especially good for someone who may have recently experienced a loss or wants to create a unique memory!  

I mentioned in my previous article about Discover Live, a company who provides live world experiences….virtually. This also provides a way for families to connect by revisiting favorite destinations or exploring new ones. This company has gift certificates, and they can be packaged nicely as a holiday gift. Become creative —this certainly is not an ordinary year so take the time to make this holiday extraordinary and memorable!  I am raising my glass to a better 2021 and wishing everyone a Happy Holiday season!  Cheers~      

About the Author:

Lisa Gates has worked within the senior living industry for eight years as an Administrator for an adult day health program and served in various sales and marketing capacities with Brookdale Senior Living. She has helped numerous families navigate through their journey as a caregiver, with an emphasis on dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, she has held numerous sales and consulting roles within the real estate and hospitality industry. She is the Co-founder and CEO  of a nonprofit (501-c-3) Metamorphosis-3, which was created in 2019. Its mission is to provide programs for isolated seniors, caregivers, and intergenerational programs. This nonprofit will provide services in all geographic areas.