For many families, the holidays are filled with opportunities for getting together and sharing laughter and memories. We see television, magazine, and newspaper advertisements with pictures of "happy family" gatherings. Family members are portrayed as having a wonderful time with multiple generations together sharing holiday traditions. As we go through the holidays we should recognize that we may experience many mixed emotions. It's perfectly natural to feel some sadness and suffer from the "holiday blues" as we get caught up in the stress and remember the old traditions.

For caregivers taking care of a loved one, this time of year can be especially difficult. Caregivers may feel overwhelmed trying to maintain holiday traditions while caring for their loved one. The holidays can often bring on feelings of loneliness, disappointment, stress, sadness or even depression.

Here are a few tips that caregivers can use to make this holiday season happy and less stressful.

* Be realistic about what you can accomplish.

* Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage.

* Maintain your normal routine as much as possible.

* Limit holiday tasks. Too many can wear on you and the person you care for.

* Involve the person you care for in the holiday planning process.

* Be flexible and create new easy ways to enjoy the holidays.

* Don't be afraid to ask for help from family members and friends.

* Maintain your sense of humor and laugh often.


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If you are caring for an elder or disabled adult, contact the Caregiver Support Program at Montachusett Home Care (978-537-7411). We can help.

Montachusett Home Care is a nonprofit agency located in Leominster. Our mission is to help elders and disabled persons remain safely in their own home through the provision of home care and other supportive services for them and their families.